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Louis Oosthuizen sets pace in China – with Els and Scott giving chase

2nd November 2012

• 2010 Open champions has five-stroke lead
• Ernie Els and Adam Scott on 11-under

Louis Oosthuizen is in familiar territory after a record-breaking performance at the WGC Champions Tournament put him in pole position after the first two rounds at Mission Hills in China.

The 30-year-old South African is 16-under and holds a five-shot lead over Adam Scott of Australia, exactly the same advantage he had after the opening two rounds at St Andrews in 2010, on his way to winning the Open Championship.

Oosthuizen, runner-up to Bubba Watson at this year’s US Masters after making bogey on the second playoff hole, bettered the course record seven-under 65 he shot in the first round with a nine-under 63 to mirror the 36-hole lead he held when he won the Open, his only major to date.

“Scoreboard-wise it is probably the same; looking at the leaderboard there are so many great players up there,” Oosthuizen said after a second-round which included eight birdies and an eagle at the par-five 7th, where he sank a long putt across the green. “But it’s far from over, as it was at the Open. With this tournament, I am probably in a great position to win but it has not even crossed my mind at the moment. There is still a lot of golf to be played and I need to put myself in a great position going down the back nine [on Sunday].”

On a course that has five par-fives, all of which offer birdie or eagle chances, there has been speculation the European Tour could witness its first 59-shot round. Despite breaking the layout record twice, however, Oosthuizen remains sceptical. “I think 59 is something that when the day comes it just happens,” he said.

“I would be really surprised if I shot 59 this week. I have just been playing really solid to shoot low numbers. You know, for a 59 you need everything to go in, you need everything to go right.”

Scott, runner-up to Ernie Els in the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham, said making up a five-shot deficit over the weekend would be difficult with a player such as Oosthuizen in front. The Australian kept pace with him on Friday with four birdies in his first seven holes but then fell back with three bogeys on the back nine. “It’s tough chipping around these greens,” he said. “There are quite a lot of run-off areas and it’s tricky to judge how your shots are going to respond when you hit chip shots.”

Scott shares second place with Els, who matched Oosthuizen’s second-round 63 on Friday and moved up from 19th place. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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