Sunday, 08 April 2012
Louis Oosthuizen  (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)

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Louis Oosthuizen produced the most electrifying start imaginable to his final round at Augusta National - holing his approach to the 575 yard second for the first albatross two there in Masters Tournament history.

South Africa's 2010 Open Champion hit an iron from 260 yards that landed in the middle of the green and - accompanied by an almighty roar that got louder and louder - rolled the contours of the green to the hole and dropped in.

With that one shot Oosthuizen leapt from seven under par to ten under and, with overnight leader Peter Hanson bogeying the first, he was two in front of both the Swede and three-time champion Phil Mickelson.

Although he had entered the record books it brought back memories of last year when compatriot Charl Schwartzel chipped in at the first and pitched in for eagle on the third to start his charge to the title.

The last player to make an albatross and win the tournament was Gene Sarazen in 1935. His two on the 15th in the second Masters Tournament was called "the shot heard round the world" and the only other albatrosses were by Bruce Devlin on the eighth in 1967 and Jeff Maggert on the 13th in 1994.

Oosthuizen did really well to scramble a par on the third after driving right and then sending his approach over the back. And it was a real bonus for him that his lead remained two when Mickelson and Hanson both failed to birdie the second.

Padraig Harrington was the European who made the best start. He birdied the second - it seemed pedestrian by comparison - and was sixth on his own at five under, five behind.

Lee Westwood, also four under overnight, also birdied the second, but it was sandwiched between two bogeys and he was down to eighth on three under with Ian Poulter, while Scot Paul Lawrie bogeyed the short fourth and slipped back to two under.

Oosthuizen's lead was back to one when he came up short of the green on the 240 yard fourth and could not get up and down this time.

Behind him Hanson drove into sand on the third, failed to find the putting surface and had his second bogey, leaving Mickelson alone in second.

Harrington, winner of the curtain-raising par three competition, had a six foot chance on the fifth that would have lifted him to six under and joint fourth only three back, but he missed it.

Last year's joint runner-up Adam Scott, meanwhile, had the second hole-in-one of the day on the 16th, followed it with a birdie and was alongside Poulter and Westwood on four under, Westwood having holed from long range at the sixth.

Oosthuizen's hopes were given a huge boost when Mickelson ran up a six - his second triple bogey of the week - on the fourth.

His tee shot hit the grandstand on the left and headed into the undergrowth. Going back to the tee was an option, but he tried to hack it right-handed, hardly moved it and then had to do it again. There was still a bunker between him and the flag and into the sand he went before getting up and down that did at least limit the damage.

In one hole he had gone from one behind to four back and from second to joint sixth - with Westwood, who had another birdie on the seventh.

Harrington was up to fourth when he holed from just off the sixth green. 

Oosthuizen saved par from 14 feet at the sixth and could have extended his advantage to three on the next, but missed his six footer.

Westwood slipped back again by bogeying the long eighth, but Poulter sank a curling 30 foot putt on the ninth and joined Mickelson in sixth place, one behind Harrington and four behind Oosthuizen.

Joint second were Hanson and Americans Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson - and there was still a long way to go.
 

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