The former British Open champion delivered a brilliant display of shot-making on a firm and fast-running Chambers Bay layout, a second consecutive four-under-par 66 lifting him into contention for the title after the third round on Saturday.
“If I hit it the way I did today, I think I've got a pretty good chance of putting a good number out there again,” Oosthuizen told reporters after mixing five birdies with a sole bogey in tricky scoring conditions under a blazing sun.
“I gave myself loads of birdie opportunities, which is what you want to try to do around here. Ball-striking is key to really pinpoint where you want to pitch it on the greens.
“The greens are so firm now, and it's pretty dead, the grass, so you need to work the slopes on the greens to get it close. And I did that today. But still it's a challenge to make a lot of putts on these greens.”
Despite his brilliant play, Oosthuizen missed five birdie putts from inside 10 feet on a links-style layout where the slick and contoured greens have been heavily criticised by players and commentators for their uneven pace and bumpy nature.
However, Oosthuizen's form over the past two days at Chambers Bay allowed him to mount a stirring comeback after he had slumped to nine over par after his first 20 holes in the year's second major.
“It looked like I would have been back (home) in Florida today,” the 32-year-old smiled as he referred to the possibility of missing the cut. “But, yeah, just I made a few putts yesterday and started hitting the ball really well.
“This morning on the range, I found a bit of a swing with my driver and seemed to sort of go from there on the rest of my game.
“I hit it really close on a lot of holes, could have been probably a lot lower,” the South African said after finishing in a tie for fifth at one-under 209, three shots off the pace.
Oosthuizen, who coasted to victory by seven shots in the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, had opened with a 77 at Chambers Bay where his playing partners, Tiger Woods (80) and Rickie Fowler (81), fared even worse. They both missed the cut.
“I played as bad as them that first round,” said the South African.
“I think we just pulled each other down quite a bit. It's tough when all three players like that, you don't really get into it.” Reuters
Original source: Oosthuizen makes stirring comeback