Oosthuizen takes 3-shot lead into final round

Associated Press Published: September 3, 2012
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NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Louis Oosthuizen had never been to the TPC Boston until his week, although he knew what to expect in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

This is a course that tends to favor power, and the South African has plenty of that. It's also a course where players make a lot of birdies, and no one has made more than his 19 over the opening three rounds.

"If you're playing well, you can shoot really low numbers," Oosthuizen said.

Oosthuizen carried out the scouting report to near perfection Sunday in the third round, at least for a two-hour stretch that was close to flawless. He made eight birdies in a nine-hole stretch — the exception was No. 3, where he missed a 5-foot birdie putt — before he cooled down on the back nine and had to settle for an 8-under 63.

It was enough to build a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, who was exceptional on the back nine to post a 67 that kept the tournament from getting away from him.

Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson were still in the mix, just barely. Woods made back-to-back birdies late in his round for a 68, while Johnson's Ryder Cup hopes took a strong turn in the right direction with a 65.

Oosthuizen set a trio of tournament records on another sun-filled day south of Boston, until some dark clouds and a light rain showed up in the final hour. He made seven straight birdies. He shot a 29 on the front nine. And he completed 54 holes in 19-under 194.

But the Labor Day conclusion was sure to include a lot more work ahead for Oosthuizen.

Yes, the TPC Boston allows for birdies, though not just for him. McIlroy and Johnson also have 19 birdies going into the final round. And while Woods has never come from further than five shots behind to win on the PGA Tour, six years ago in Boston he rallied from three back with a 63 that toppled Vijay Singh by two shots.

To see Oosthuizen threaten to run away from the field was not discouraging as much as it indicated what was out there. Earlier on Sunday, Keegan Bradley had a 63 despite a bogey on the 17th and failing to make birdie on the par-5 18th.

"With the conditions like this, we're going to have to shoot some good numbers," Woods said. "It's definitely gettable. Louis played a good round, Keegan played a good round early. You can post 4, 5, 6 under par on that front nine if you get it going early. The back nine is certainly gettable, as well. I think I shot 30 on the front nine against Vijay. I'm going to need a quick start like I had that day.

"That's basically what Louis did and that's what Keegan did, as well," he said. "You get off to quick starts, you can get it going."

Oosthuizen had some help with a pure putting stroke that matched his sweet, simple swing, which has become the envy of the PGA Tour. His birdie streak began with a chip from behind the short par-4 fourth hole to 6 feet. He had a simple up-and-down from next to the green on the par-5 seventh. And it ended with a shot into 2 feet on No. 10. Along the way, he holed birdie putts of 20 feet on Nos. 5 and 6, a 40-footer on the par-3 eighth and a 25-foot birdie putt on the ninth.

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