Louis Oosthuizen starts season with 65 in latest bid to finally crack America
The South African's impressive opening round at TPC Summerlin put him tied 10th after round one of the Shriner's Children's Open.
The South African is on a mission in Las Vegas this week and an impressive opening round at TPC Summerlin put him tied 10th after round one of the Shriner's Children's Open.
Louis Oosthuizen is the highest-ranked player in the field at this week's Shriners Children's Open in Las Vegas.
The South African currently sits at No.8 in the OWGR and at one point has been as high as fourth.
His career achievements include a brilliant seven-shot victory in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews and nine European Tour wins while he sits 55th on the PGA Tour's list of all-time earners having pocketed over $27million.
But there's one curious omission on Oosthuizen's CV. And it makes him the odd man out when scanning down the list of the world's best golfers.
Yep, Oosthuizen is the only player in the world's top 20 without a win on American soil.
It's one of the more unfathomable facts at the higher echelons of the game. Time after time we see him contending heavily for Majors in America so there's a presumption that he must surely have won a rank-and-final event like this one in Las Vegas.
But, no, that elusive victory just won't come.
The near misses
Oosthuizen has gone close numerous times to landing that first win on US turf.
Here's his list of second places on American soil:
2012 The Masters, Deutsche Bank Championship
2015 US Open
2016 WGC-World Match Play
2017 Players Championship, PGA Championship
2019 Valspar Championship
2021 PGA Championship, US Open, 3M Open
Adding to that are six third places, including two in 2021.
Oosthuizen took his close-but-no-cigar act to even higher levels in the 2021 Majors.
The 38-year-old held the halfway lead at the PGA Championship while he was the 54-hole leader in the US Open a month later. But, once more, his Sundays ended in disappointment.
Goals for this season
Ahead of his first start of the 2021/22 campaign, this week's event in Las Vegas, Oosthuizen was asked if he'd set some goals for the season.
His response? "We got a plan going from here on out, a certain bunch of events that you choose and pick sort of courses that you like, tournaments that you like and see if you can prepare for those events and use the other events to get your game really sharp for, especially for those ones."
As for preparing for the Majors, he noted: "I think I've learned a way to do it, rest quite a bit before, take a bit of time off and then at a certain time before the tournament, start working on things for that tournament.
"And always work on short game; doesn't matter which event it is, you just try and keep your short game as sharp as possible.
"But there are certain things that you are looking for in your game, try and get it out in the other events and try and try things under pressure when you play other events. By the time you get to the Major you should know what to do when you're in that situation.
"But I think me and my team have a pretty good way of preparing for it and that's now just up to me to step over that line to get that second major."
While not specifically mentioning getting a win on American soil, his answer implies it. Three of the four Majors are in the United States and he'll spend the majority of his season there.
So, could he make the breakthrough this week?
Oosthuizen's opening round in Las Vegas
So far, so good.
Oosthuizen was bogey free in round at TPC Summerlin, shooting a 65 that comprised 12 pars and six birdies (4, 6, 7, 11, 13 and 15).
That put him tied 10th on the leaderboard, four behind leader Sung Kang.
Strokes Gained Off The Tee: 1.124 (rank 20th)
Strokes Gained Approach: 0.802 (rank 44th)
Strokes Gained Around The Green: -0.041 (rank 74th)
Strokes Gained Putting: 1.484 (rank 25th)
Strokes Gained Tee To Green: 1.884 (rank 26th)
Sand Saves: 100% 1 of 1 (rank 1st)
He finished tied 19th on his tournament debut last year after rounds of 65, 68, 71 and 64.