Once again, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen finds himself in a big championship.
Oosthuizen’s total of 36 holes of 129 at The Open at Royal St. George’s is the second best points total through two rounds at a major in history; Brooks KoepkaThe total of 36 holes at the 2019 PGA Championship was 128.
If Oosthuizen is going to win the Open for a second time, and 11 years after winning it for the first time, he will have to like some of the best players in the sport. Collin Morikawa is only 2 shots left, Jordan Spieth is 3 behind and Dustin Johnson is 4 back. Koepka and Jon Rahm is also within striking distance at 5 below.
Can Oosthuizen finally do it?
Oosthuizen’s famous place
When Oosthuizen became his only major at The Open in St. Petersburg in 2010. Andrews won, he did not think of hoisting the Claret Jug until he shot on the 17th hole of the final round.
“You do not try to think about it before you have done it,” Oosthuizen said.
The South African knows this better than most. He has finished second in the majors six times since joining St. Louis. Andrews won, including a second place finish at the PGA Championship (lost to Phil Mickelson with 2 strokes) and solo second at the US Open (lost by Jon Rahm with one stroke).
“I do not know,” Oosthuizen said. “I think in some of them I had to play just a little bit better when I was on the piece. The US Open at Torrey Pines, it was not the easiest golf course to try the last five, six holes a You just played parsies and of course Jon finished with the two incredible set pieces he made, and now I’m suddenly chasing, so it’s hard to find birds to win the championship.
‘That said [that], I played well enough where I could probably be a little more aggressive a few times. I just do not think I would have done much differently in many of them. ‘
Oosthuizen has the chance to try to close the door again this weekend, after he opened a 2-stroke lead over Morikawa after the second round. His 129-hole total of 129 is the lowest in The Open history.
Louis Oosthuizen set the record for the lowest score of 36 holes in the history of the Open Championship with a 129. pic.twitter.com/2FHdchMJbs
– ESPN Statistics and Information (@ESPNStatsInfo) 16 July 2021
After a bump-free 6-under-64 in the first round, Oosthuizen has 33 holes behind him without a thug. After catching an eagle on the par-5 14th on Friday, he finally pestered the par-3 16th.
“No, I would say more inspiration, knowing that I can still participate in majors,” Oosthuizen said. “I just have to pull it off and see if I can do better this weekend. The game is good, but I know it’s a very good points list. I have to play good golf this weekend if I want to get out first.”
Morikawa’s latest strong debut
The first time Collin Morikawa played in the U.S. Open, he finished 35th at Pebble Beach in 2019. The first time he played in the PGA Championship at Harding Park the following year, at the age of 23, he became the third youngest winner of the event.
It is clear that Morikawa is not entertained by the biggest golf courses. This is once again the case in his first start at The Open.
Morikawa, now 24, shot a 6-under-64 in the second round, which was tied for his best score in any round on a major, and walked Oosthuizen by 2 strokes to 36 holes. Morikawa’s score of 131 holes out of 131 is the fourth lowest in Open history.
“I look at them as if they were playing clearly,” Morikawa said of the majors. “We have four of them a year, and you’re definitely trying to win these four because they’re so big.”
Morikawa said he grew up watching The Open on TV. He was only 6 years old then Ben Curtis became the last first winner of The Open in Royal St. in 2003. George’s.
According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, Morikawa would only become the ninth player to win the PGA Championship and the Open in a 365-day team. Of the previous eight only Tiger Woods did it before I turned 25.
“For me, I just want to create my own memories,” he said. “There are memories here and there. I’m amazing with the history of golf, like just remembering certain facts. … Hopefully we can just create memories and create life memories that can hopefully dawn on Sunday and we can talk again.”
More big names chasing
After opening with a 1-over 71, Jon Rahm looked like his follow-up to the U.S. Open victory at a major would be a flop. But then the Spaniard put together a bump-free, 6-under-64, to move halfway to 5 under, 6 shots behind Oosthuizen, who he chased to win at Torrey Pines last month.
It was Rahm’s lowest scoring in a major.
“I can also play this level of golf this weekend,” Rahm said. His best finish at The Open two years ago was a draw for 11th place at Royal Portrush. “I can play really well. It can go better too. I think I [will] give myself a chance to catch up by Sunday.
‘But we will see [in the third round]. [Saturday] is of course the most important day. If I can sit a solid round again like I [on Friday], post a good number and hope the leaders do not go too low, I think that is the job. ‘
The four-time big winner, Brooks Koepka, also challenged himself again with a 4-under-66 series and finished with four birdies in the last five holes, including the last three. He is also at 5 down after 36 holes.
“I would like to be closer,” Koepka said. “But yeah, I mean, I have to play a good round. I need it. Try to be within two or three of the lead that goes into Sunday. So I have to move – and have to do It [Saturday]. “
Who are these guys?
Oosthuizen is not the only South African on the list. The other one, however, is completely unexpected. Daniel van Tonder, 30, was a late replacement for Joohyung Kim and plays in his first Open. After a 4-under-66 moved him halfway to 6-under, van Tonder is suddenly in contention to win the Claret Jug.
“I can not ask for much,” Van Tonder said. “Golf, you can not really go and just say you want to be this or that. You have to go out and play. Yes, as long as the wind blows, I’m very happy about it. I’m here for the weekend and just enjoying every moment. “
He started playing golf at the age of 12 and has never had a coach. His wife, Abi, is his caddy. He is a seven-time winner of the Challenge Tour and won his first European Tour event at the Kenyan Savannah Classic in March, beating Jazz Janewattananond in a playoff game. He finished 44th at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island in May.
Germany’s Marcel Siem was also tied after 36 holes for seventh at 6 under. This can be even more of a surprise. Siem is the number 302 player in the world. He only qualified for The Open on Sunday, when he won the Le Vaudreuil Challenge in the European Challenge Tournament in France.
Siem, who turned 41 on Thursday, is having a hard time missing the course. He does not wear a hat over his blonde man sandwich. He likes to punch every time a container enters. He has not won on the European Tour since the BMW Masters in November 2014 and lost his tour ticket. He was ranked No. 48 in the world in 2013 and finished 12th in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst the following year.
Siem played in his first major since the PGA Championship in 2015 and held a major for the first time in his 60s consecutive rounds in a major.
The friendlier than expected conditions at Royal St. George’s did not help everyone. A handful of big names are on their way home after missing the track. This includes Marc Leishman (2 hours), Francesco Molinari (2 hours), Tyrrell Hatton (2 hours), Patrick Cantlay (3 ears), Patrick Reed (3 ears), Gary Woodland (3 ears), Jason Day (5 hours) and Phil Mickelson (12 hours).