Oosthuizen opens five-shot lead at HSBC Champions

By Associated PressNovember 2, 2012, 10:35 am

SHENZHEN, China – Louis Oosthuizen shot a 9-under 63 to set a 36-hole World Golf Championship record and open a five-stroke lead at the HSBC Champions on Friday.

The 2010 British Open champion, the co-leader overnight, had eight birdies and an eagle to offset one bogey at Mission Hills.

He was at 16-under 128, the best two-round score in WGC history, bettering the 15-under marks set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 Bridgestone Invitational and the 2006 Cadillac Championship.


WGC-HSBC Champions: Scores | Photo gallery

Video: Round 2 highlights of the WGC-HSBC Champions


British Open champion Ernie Els jumped from 19th place after the opening round into a share of second with Australian Adam Scott at 11 under.

Els made seven birdies on the front nine for a 29 – the lowest nine-hole score of the day – before finishing with a 63.

Shane Lowry and Jason Dufner were in fourth place, six strokes back at 10 under. Phil Mickelson moved into contention with two eagles on the front nine, but double-bogeyed his final hole to fall into a share of sixth with Dustin Johnson.

Oosthuizen again made the most of the five par-5s on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills, birdieing four and making eagle on the 566-yard seventh. He birdied all five par-5s in the first round on Thursday.

The South African nearly had a second eagle on Friday. After hitting his second shot into a bunker on the par-5 ninth, he hit a difficult chip shot over a ridge and onto the green that rolled 15 feet and missed the pin by inches.

''You get those days where if you hit it well, you leave yourself in a decent spot for a chip-and-putt for a birdie on the par-5s,'' he said. ''I think I can reach all of them, which, you know, makes it easy.''

Oosthuizen is having one of his best years on tour, with two titles and a runner-up finish to Bubba Watson after a playoff at The Masters. He says the highlight was the albatross he hit on the par-5 second hole in the final round at Augusta.

He's not expecting to repeat the feat at Mission Hills, but is hoping he can keep hitting well off the tee on the long holes to bag as many birdies as he can.

''I've just been playing really, really solid to shoot low numbers,'' he said. ''I'm in a great position to win it, but it's not even crossed my mind at the moment.''

He's happy to be at Mission Hills after falling and injuring his ankle during a tennis match two weeks ago. He said the ankle is still swollen and a little painful, but he's able to hit and walk on it.

''I feel it, but it's all right,'' he said.

Mickelson, a two-time HSBC Champions winner, played a superb front nine with two eagles and two birdies to move into a share of second place with Scott at the turn.

But on the 18th he barely cleared the lake and landed in the rough on a steep slope next to the green. Balanced awkwardly with one foot on a rock and the other on the hill, he missed the ball completely with his first swing. He popped it onto the green with his second attempt but then missed a 10-foot putt for bogey.

''It's disappointing finishing with a double, but I played pretty well for the most part throughout the first 12, 13 holes,'' he said. ''I just played a little sloppy coming in.''

Scott, the co-leader with Oosthuizen after the first round, made four birdies to keep pace on the front nine before blundering an opportunity for birdie on the par-5 ninth, which he had eagled the day before.

After positioning himself well with a deep second drive that nearly reached the green, the Australian left his chip shot short, setting up a difficult 10-foot putt that he missed. He pulled the putt wide by inches and had to settle for par.

Scott's struggles continued on the back nine with three bogeys to go along with three birdies. Still, he believes he can make up ground on Oosthuizen over the weekend.

''Five shots is just a couple of holes to get back,'' he said. ''There are eagle chances and there's also a lot of trouble, so it can all turn around quickly.''

Peter Hanson and Bubba Watson fell off the pace after trailing by one coming into the day. Hanson slipped to 12th place after carding a 71 and Watson plummeted to 17th after triple-bogeying the tricky par-5 15th and finishing with a 72.

Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

Getty Images

Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


Getty Images

McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.