Oosthuizen and Fleetwood chasing leaders in Korea

4/25/2013 11:30:00 AM
Louis Oosthuizen   (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)
The 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Tommy Fleetwood, who was English Amateur Champion the same year, finished the day one behind the clubhouse leaders with two holes remaining at the weather-delayed Ballantine's Championship.

France's Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Australia's Kieran Pratt, Swede Johan Edfors, England’s Matthew Baldwin and Korea's Kim Gi-whan, had all completed rounds of 67 after a suspension of two hours and ten minutes due to rain and poor visibility to hold the clubhouse lead on five under par.

South African Oosthuizen made the journey from Florida to South Korea in a private jet and made an appropriately flying start with an outward six under par 30 to grab the outright lead.

His chances of leading overnight disappeared with bogeys on the tenth and 12th, while 22 year old Fleetwood birdied three of his last four holes before bad light brought play to a close for the day.

World Number Seven Oosthuizen had brilliantly got up and down from a greenside bunker on the par five first and then hit his approach to the second to five feet, before holing from 15 and 20 feet respectively on the third and fourth to make it four birdies in succession.

That run came to an end on the par five fifth when a hooked drive and poor approach shot eventually forced Oosthuizen to hole from seven feet for par, but normal service was resumed on the next with another birdie from four feet.

Oosthuizen also birdied the eighth from 12 feet to reach the turn in just 30 shots, but could not pick up a single shot on the seven holes of his back nine played before the close.

“It’s a good start,” said Oosthuizen. “I’m hitting it really well. I made nice putts, hit it fairly close the front nine, and probably made one or two longish birdie putts. 

“Then teed off on ten and the wind came in, with the weather coming in, and I probably just missed two shots and put myself in really tough spots to get up and down and then made bogey. But I’m feeling good, spinning it well - I haven't hit it that well in a while like I did on the front nine.” 

The 29 year old Gonnet, whose best finish in seven years on The European Tour came when he was a runner-up in Scandinavia back in 2007, had completed an outward 32 before the break, then after eight straight pars on the back nine found the par five 18th green in two and two-putted for birdie.

“It was good to put my name up right away, because I haven't played like this for more than a year,” said Gonnet, who had broken 70 only once previously in 2013.

“I played pretty straight off the tee, and my putting was great; five under is a good score.”

Edfors, without a European Tour title since claiming three victories in his rookie season back in 2006, holed a ten footer at the 14th for one of six birdies in his round.

“I was really happy I came out of the block pretty good there on the front nine and played some really, really good golf,” he said.

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, playing the back nine first, turned in a three under 33; however, the Austrian had a few putting problems after the resumption and slipped back to one under.

Fleetwood and Oosthuizen, who share sixth place with Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and Korean Jung-hwan Lee, will resume their rounds at 7.30am on Friday morning.