Oosthuizen lays down a marker
Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen fired a blistering second round 62 to open a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Africa Open.
Last Updated: 06/01/12 5:40pm
Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen fired a blistering second round of 62 to open a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Africa Open.
The 2010 Open champion enjoyed a day to remember at East London Golf Club, his red-hot putter helping him collect nine birdies and an eagle during a flawless display.
He finished the day on 15-under-par and at the top of a leaderboard dominated by South Africans. Oosthuizen's closest challengers being compatriots Thomas Aiken, Tjaart van der Walt, Retief Goosen and Jaco Ahlers who are all two strokes back.
Britons Danny Willett, Tommy Fleetwood, Alastair Forsyth and Craig Lee are two further shots further adrift at 11-under, along with Sweden's Magnus A Carlsson.
Two-time major winner Goosen and Ahlers both carded solid 68s while overnight leader Aiken followed his 64 with a four-under-par 69.
But it was Van der Walt who produced the most spectacular run of day two as, having birdied the first (his tenth), he fired a memorable hole-in-one at the second and promptly followed it with an eagle at the par-five third.
However, even the 37-year-old could not keep pace with Oosthuizen who finished his round in brilliant style with three birdies and an eagle in his final five holes, largely down to some inspired putting.
"I wasn't really feeling the putts on Thursday," he explained afterwards. "I left a couple of putts short, so I decided to get more aggressive with the putter and it paid off.
"It wasn't all smooth sailing. I went six foot past a few times and had to make those for par. At my last hole, the eighth, I hit one so hard that it probably would have gone eight to 10 foot past the hole, but luckily it hit the middle of the cup.
"You can afford to play like that in the morning when the greens are still smooth, but in the afternoon the grass grows fast and they get a little bumpy. I think I'll probably stay aggressive if the weather holds, though."
Two-time Major winner Goosen underlined his putting prowess when he steered a crucial eight-footer into the hole for birdie at the last to finish just two behind last year's winner.
"I guess that's why I was named best putter on the European Tour last year," he smiled afterwards.
"I was happy to finish with that birdie at the last, though. It's nice to be just that one shot closer to the lead; instead of three behind you're now just two off the pace and that's a good place to be with 36 holes to play."
Meanwhile Aiken dropped his first shot in 36 holes at the par-four 18th, but the 2011 Spanish Open champion was relieved that he could limit a careless drive to just a bogey.
"It would have been nice to go 36 holes without a dropped shot, but I hit a poor tee shot," he said. "On this course that's the price you pay.
"For the rest, I'm very happy with my swing. I'm hitting the ball well and the putter is working nicely. It's nice to be in this position so early in the season and after a break."