Moving Day musings: WGC-HSBC Champions


Louis Oosthuizen begins the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions with a commanding five-shot lead. As the South African seeks his third worldwide win of 2012, here are some players and storylines to follow as play heats up this weekend in China:

• Through two rounds, Oosthuizen's lead can largely be attributed to his success on the longest holes at Mission Hills Golf Club. The layout at the Olazabal Course includes five par-5s, and the 2010 British Open champion birdied each of them Thursday en route to an opening 65. Friday he did one better, carding four birdies in addition to an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole, as he has now played the par-5s in 11 under for the week.

• Joining Oosthuizen in Saturday's final pairing will be two players who last crossed paths on the 18th green at Royal Lytham. The narratives of Ernie Els and Adam Scott will remain inextricably linked based upon the events of this summer's British Open, but both now enter the third round tied for second and in search of their first top-5 finish since Els left England with the claret jug. Scott's 13 birdies through two rounds are third-best among the field, while Els carded his lowest round of the year with a 63 Friday and has yet to record a bogey.

• Shane Lowry is continuing a late-season surge as he looks to crack the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time in his career. Ranked No. 128 only four weeks ago, he now sits at No. 57 after a win in Portugal and fifth-place finish at the BMW Masters last week. He enters the weekend tied for fourth, six shots behind Oosthuizen, hoping to move into the top 50 in the world by year's end - and earn a bid to the Masters in the process.

• One of the biggest moves up the leaderboard Friday was made by Denmark's Thobjorn Olesen, who fired a 7-under 65 to gain a share of eighth place. The young Dane recorded six birdies in seven holes during a front-nine 30 Friday, and will be looking to improve upon what has already been a career-best year during which he notched his first European Tour win and ascended more than 100 spots in the world ranking.

• The group of players tied for 12th includes four European Ryder Cup members and an intriguing outlier – Prom Meesawat. Meesawat, from Thailand, is currently the low Asian player and has his name next to the likes of Kaymer, Westwood, Poulter and Hanson after 36 holes. Entering the week seventh on the Asian Tour Order of Merit after five top-10 finishes this year, Meesawat will be paired Saturday with former FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas and former world No. 1 Luke Donald.