EAST LONDON, South Africa – British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen shot a 6-under 67 in brutal wind Friday to move within a stroke of the lead at the midway point of the Africa Open.
Oosthuizen trails a group of three players at 10-under 136, including South African Branden Grace and England’s Miles Tunnicliff, who has second-round 69s. Austria’s Markus Brier shot 66 in gusts up to 35 miles per hour to join them in the lead.
“Hopefully the wind will keep blowing, because I think it’s the way this golf course should be played,” said Oosthuizen, who climbed 21 spots on the leaderboard Friday.
“There was a lot of shot-making, which I like,” he said. “Like from 100 meters out, you take a 7-iron, or something like that. I still think there were quite a few birdies out there today.”
Oosthuizen demonstrated that after opening with an eagle on the 507-yard first by making five more birdies on a day when everyone else around him seemed to be dropping shots.
Defending champion Charl Schwartzel called his 70 “one of my better 3-unders” and was three behind the leaders. But the 2009 champion, Retief Goosen, missed the cut by two strokes after an uneventful even-par 73.
“The two tournaments which I have won on the European Tour have been in really windy conditions, so it obviously suits me,” said Tunnicliff, who had five birdies in his first five holes. “I wasn’t quite expecting that. I hit some really good shots.”
Things came undone for him with two bogeys before the turn and two more at Nos. 15 and 16, but he chipped in on the 18th to put himself into a share of the lead.
Brier made eight birdies and an eagle in his round, and Grace – who was runner-up to Goosen in 2009 – said his confidence also remained high.
“The wind is not the problem,” Grace said. “It’s just when it gusts that you struggle to get the balance and the stance right.”