Louis Oosthuizen shares early lead at Nedbank Golf Challenge

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa greets legendary golfer Gary Player before his round during the day 1 of the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Golf Course on in Sun City, North West province, on November 08, 2018.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa greets legendary golfer Gary Player before his round during the day 1 of the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Golf Course on in Sun City, North West province, on November 08, 2018.
Image: Gordon Arons

Four birdies on the front nine helped propel South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen into a share of the early lead on the opening round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) here on Thursday.

Oosthuizen drained birdie putts on the second‚ fourth‚ sixth and seventh to slip into a one-shot lead by the time he completed the seventh. He however dropped a shot on the par four eighth.

Oosthuizen‚ the 2010 Open champion and regular runner up in the Majors‚ shared the lead with China’s Ashun Wu‚ Finland’s Mikko Korhonen‚ Cape Town born Australian‚ Jason Scrivenen.

Earlier England’s Lee Westwood rolled in the putts and the years by charging into a share of the lead before a bogey on the par four 13th stunted his momentum.

Westwood‚ a winner here in 2010 and 2011‚ made the most of the calm‚ overcast conditions at the start with birdies at the sixth‚ seventh‚ ninth and the 11th. Bogeys at the second and the 13th however have pegged him back.

Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy was one-under through seven after he found peril on the third. His approach plugged in a green side bunker and although he extricated himself expertly he still dropped a shot.

Despite his sprightly start Oosthuizen may have cause for concern as he closes his round. He expressed reservations about the Gary Player inspired extended tee box on the 18th.

“I don’t know about the new tee on 18‚ if they are really going to stick with that. I hit driver and I couldn’t see the green‚” he said after his round in Wednesday’s Pro Am.

“It’s a bit of a strange one. I thought it was a great hole with a normal tee‚ but you know‚ course is about‚ yeah. Game feels good. So just need to go out there and play well‚” said Oosthuizen.

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