Louis Oosthuizen said he was thinking about a record-tying score of 59 after opening the third round of the U.S. PGA Tour’s Deutsche Bank Championship with eight birdies in 10 holes.
The South African instead settled for an 8-under-par 63 and a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy heading into today’s final round of the second FedExCup playoff event outside Boston. Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson are six shots behind Oosthuizen, who at 19-under broke the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record.
“After 10 holes being 8-under, you always think about getting it to 59,” Oosthuizen, 29, said in a news conference yesterday. “I didn’t do anything different from there on in. I gave myself good chances to post that number.”
Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open, had a score of 7-under-par 29 for the first nine holes yesterday at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. He ran off seven birdies in a row from the fourth hole and followed with six straight pars before closing his round with a bogey at the 17th hole and a birdie at the par-5 18th.
“You get those days where you just look at a putt and you hole it,” said Oosthuizen, who once carded a 57 in a non-tournament round on his home course at Mossel Bay, South Africa. “That was my first nine holes. Still played well on the back nine, put myself in good spots to make birdies, and just couldn’t make any putts.”
McIlroy, who won this year’s PGA Championship, followed up consecutive rounds of 65 with a third-round 67 to get to 16-under par. Woods shot a 3-under-par 68 for the second straight day while Johnson carded a third-round 65.
“I’m six back so I’m going to have to put together a really good round,” Woods said in a televised interview. “You have to get off to a quick start and at least get some momentum going.”
Bryce Molder and Ryan Moore are tied at 11-under par, with Charley Hoffman and Jason Dufner each one shot further back.
After this week’s tournament, which includes the top 100 players in the FedExCup point standings, the field will be reduced to 70 for the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, next week.
Following a one-week break, the top 30 players on the points list will contend for the FedExCup title and the champion’s $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.