Louis Oosthuizen’s approaches pay off in Masters opening round of 68
Soft putting surfaces made it easier to hit greens in regulation in the first round of the Masters Tournament. Louis Oosthuizen certainly took advantage of those conditions to post 4-under-par 68.
He’s three shots behind clubhouse leader Paul Casey, in a tie for fourth place.
Oosthuizen hit 16 greens in regulation. Of the 48 players who finished their weather-delayed round on Thursday, only Kevin Na hit more. He hit all 18 but still shot 73.
“It's probably as easy as it's going to play today,” Oosthuizen said. “I hit 4irons to the greens where it plugged, I hit 7wood into a green and it plugged. I don't think we'll ever get an opportunity to go at pins like that.”
The week’s rain has so far slowed down the greens, which presented a problem, once Oosthuizen was on them. He needed 31 putts.
“Very different to what we're used to playing,” he said. “It was tricky on the greens because you know what it used to do and all of a sudden you've got to hit it a lot firmer, and think it was a little tricky putting on the greens.”
Oosthuizen was in a pairing that included pretournament favorite Bryson DeChambeau and world No. 2 Jon Rahm. Oosthuizen, who is ranked 19th in the world, beat Rahm by a shot and the sixth-ranked DeChambeau by two.
The trio combined for one eagle (by Rahm) and 14 birdies, five by Oosthuizen. Their play would have been appreciated by the gallery – if there had been one.
“We hit great shots considering there was no one cheering us on,” Oosthuizen said. “That was the weirdest thing. You know, we got used to it through the practice rounds, different lines off tees where you could actually see a little more, especially when you're standing - -like if you're on the 8th tee box now, you've got to wait for the guys on 17 to putt, and normally there's never a problem because you've got that grandstand there. But yeah, it's different. We all miss the patrons here.”
Oosthuizen started his round on No. 10 and shot 3-under-par 33 on that side, with birdies on 11, 15 and 18. He shot 1-under 35 on the front nine with birdies on Nos. 1 and 8 and a bogey on No. 6.