Louis Oosthuizen’s 64 Leads the Way on Day One at The Open

Louis Oosthuizen Leads 149th Open Championship St Georges
Louis Oosthuizen lines up a shot on the 16th tee with the help of his caddie during day one of The Open at The Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent. (Photo by Gareth Fuller PA Images via Getty Images)

Louis Oosthuizen often shines on the big stage and he did it again on Thursday, taking advantage of less windy conditions in a morning tee time to open with an immaculate round of 64 to secure the day-one lead at the 149th Open Championship.

“Yeah, probably in my mind the perfect round I could have played,” said Oosthuizen. “I didn’t make many mistakes. When I had good opportunities for birdie, I made the putts. So yeah, just a very good solid round.”

The South African, who finished runner-up at this season’s PGA Championship and U.S. Open, scored six birdies in a bogey-free effort at Royal St George’s to sit atop the day-one leaderboard on 6-under par, one clear of Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman.

Playing alongside Jon Rahm (71) and reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry (71), the 38-year-old got off to a somewhat pedestrian start with seven straight pars, including a level on the par-5 seventh hole.

The 38-year-old, though, rode a red hot putter the rest of the way, starting with a hat trick on Nos. 8, 9 and 10 and then three more birdies in a four hole span – Nos. 13, 14 and 16 – to secure the overnight position atop the iconic yellow scoreboards on -6.

“Yeah, seven pars, I think I probably would have taken seven pars again,” continued Oosthuizen. “I’ve learnt over the years playing major championships that patience is the key thing, and even if you make bogeys, know that a lot of people are going to make bogeys.

“I was just very patient. I was trying to just hit my shots and didn’t really hit anything close enough to make birdies those first few holes, and then all of a sudden just made two good putts on 8 and 9 and got the ball rolling.

“It happened quickly, but you still need to put yourself in those positions, and I felt definitely the last 10, 11 holes I gave myself a lot of opportunities.”

Spieth and Harman were nearly as brilliant, each posting a 5-under 65 to tie for second. Spieth finished with one bogey and six birdies, including four straight on Nos. 5-8.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve really loved this tournament,” said Spieth. “Played well here, whether I’ve come in in form or not, and so last year missing being able to play this tournament was certainly something that I didn’t want to do.

“Now we’re back, and it feels — actually inside the ropes when we teed off on the first tee forward, it feels the most normal of any tournament I think that we’ve played thus far relative to that same tournament in previous years pre-COVID.

“The fans are fantastic here. They’re just the best in golf. Very knowledgeable, and you always know where your ball is even if it’s a blind shot.

“It was really great to have them back and have what feels like normalcy when we teed off on the first hole.”

Meanwhile, Harman had a pair of dropped shots against seven birdies, highlighted by four gains on his first five holes, to join Spieth in the second spot.

“Yeah, you don’t want to be playing catch-up in majors,” said Harman. “I’ve definitely gotten burnt doing it a couple times.

“Like this year the PGA, kind of got behind the 8-ball for the first round, and you start pressing, you start making some mistakes.

“Just going to try to keep going what I had going today and see what the course gives me.”

A five-player logjam, which included 2009 Open winner Stewart Cink and Webb Simpson, were then 4 under, one clear of ten more deadlocked on 3 under, which included five Englishmen in Andy Sullivan, Justin Rose, Jack Senior, Danny Willett and Tommy Fleetwood. American stars Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa were also part of the 3-under group.

Viktor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, and 2018 Open winner Francesco Molinari were among 13 more tied for 19th on 2 under.


The 2021 Open Championship


First-Round Leaderboard: Top-10

Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 1)
1. Louis Oosthuizen -6 (64)
2. Jordan Spieth -5 (65)
2. Brian Harman -5 (65)
4. Stewart Cink -4 (66)
4. Webb Simpson -4 (66)
4. Mackenzie Hughes -4 (66)
4. Dylan Frittelli -4 (66)
4. Ben Herbert -4 (66)
9. Ten Players Tied -3 (67)

Notables

Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 1)
9. Tommy Fleetwood -3 (67)
9. Justin Rose -3 (67)
9. Scottie Scheffler -3 (67)
9. Collin Morikawa -3 (67)
19. Viktor Hovland -2 (68)
19. Dustin Johnson -2 (68)
19. Sergio Garcia -2 (68)
19. Francesco Molinari -2 (68)
32. Brooks Koepka -1 (69)
32. Joaquin Niemann -1 (69)
32. Will Zalatoris -1 (69)
32. Xander Schauffele -1 (69)
32. Rickie Fowler -1 (69)
32. Cam Smith -1 (69)
48. Tony Finau E (70)
48. Billy Horschel E (70)
48. Rory McIlroy E (70)
74. Darren Clarke +1 (71)
74. Bryson DeChambeau +1 (71)
74. Shane Lowry +1 (71)
74. Jon Rahm +1 (71)
74. Lee Westwood +1 (71)
74. Matt Fitzpatrick +1 (71)
91. Ian Poulter +2 (72)
91. Padraig Harrington +2 (72)
91. Branden Grace +2 (72)
91. Justin Thomas +2 (72)
91. Patrick Reed +2 (72)
91. Tyrrell Hatton +2 (72)
115. Adam Scott +3 (73)
115. Garrick Higgo +3 (73)
115. Gary Woodland +3 (73)
127. Martin Kaymer +4 (74)
127. Matt Kuchar +4 (74)
127. Patrick Cantlay +4 (74)
137. Jason Day +5 (75)
137. Marc Leishman +5 (75)
155. Phil Mickelson +10 (80)


Material from the European Tour Communications was used to compile this report.


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