AKRON, Ohio – A year ago Keegan Bradley trailed by one when he made the turn on Sunday at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He self-destructed on the back nine, though, shooting a 41 to finish well back in a tie for 15th.
Bradley has put himself in position again this year at Firestone, only this time he's headed in a positive direction. He just drained a 23-footer for birdie at the 10th hole to take over second place from playing partner, Louis Oosthuizen, who missed a 10-footer to save par there.
Bradley, who has yet to make a bogey on Sunday, is now 10 under and trails Jim Furyk by three strokes. Furyk had a 6-footer for birdie at the 10th hole but was unable to convert.
AKRON, Ohio -- The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is looking more and more like a two-man race. Here are some interesting facts should Jim Furyk or Louis Oosthuizen win:
* Earns his 17th PGA TOUR victory at the age of 42 years, 2 months and 24 days in his 476th career start on TOUR.
* Is projected to move from No. 25 into the top 10 in FedExCup points with 1,550 points.
* Becomes the second-oldest winner of a World Golf Championships event (Vijay Singh, 2008 Bridgestone Invitational, 45 years, 5 months, 12 days).
* Moves into a tie for 47th on the TOUR’s all-time wins list With 17.
* Wins for the first time in wire-to-wire fashion and becomes just the third to do so at the Bridgestone Invitational, joining Tiger Woods (2000) and Stewart Cink (2004).
* Becomes the fourth player in his 40s to win this season, joining Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. There have been 11 winners in their 20s (12 wins) and 14 in their 30s (18 wins).
* Becomes the 11th (out of 33 events) third-round leader/co-leader to win this season.
* Earns his second PGA TOUR victory at age of 29 years, 9 months and 17 days in his 47th career start on TOUR.
* Is projected to move from No. 41 into the top 20 in FedExCup points with 1,290 points. He could move as high as No. 13 in the standings.
* Becomes become the first South African to win the Bridgestone Invitational and the second to win a World Golf Championships event (Ernie Els).
* Becomes just second player in history to record his first two PGA TOUR wins at a major championship and a World Golf Championships event, joining Martin Kaymer (2010 PGA Championship, 2011 HSBC Champions).
* Records the 23rd come-from-behind win of the 2012 PGA TOUR season in 33 stroke-play events.
* Now has a win, runner-up (Masters) and third-place (Shell Houston Open) finish this year.
* Belted his PGA TOUR career-long drive during the third round, a 430-yard drive on the par-5 16th hole.
AKRON, Ohio – Jim Furyk has taken advantage of a Firestone layout that absorbed more than two hours of rain on Sunday morning by making birdies on his first three holes Sunday to open a two-shot lead.
Furyk made a 4-footer on the first hole, two-putted from the fringe at the par-5 second and rolled in a 10-footer at the third hole. He’s now 14 under and two ahead of Louis Oosthuizen, who missed a 6-footer at the third hole or else he would have matched Furyk’s start.
Rory McIlroy two-putted from 8 feet at the second hole and made a 4-footer at the next to move to 8 under. Reigning PGA champ Keegan Bradley, who is playing in the final group, made a 25-footer at the third hole to join the 2011 U.S. Open champ, six strokes behind Furyk.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods shot 31 on the front side and has moved to 4 under for the tournament.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio -- Louis Oosthuizen is right where he wants to be.
That’s because he goes into Sunday's final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a chance to win another big event. He trails by one and will play in the final group with the leader, Jim Furyk, and reigning PGA champ Keegan Bradley.
"Tomorrow is a great opportunity for me, a great spot to be in and to test myself in these events," the quiet South African said. "I mean, this is as big as, almost as big as a major. It's a great track, and just going to try and do my best tomorrow."
Oosthuizen knows what it's like to win a major after capturing the British Open at St. Andrews in 2010 by seven strokes. He also knows what it's like to see one slip from his grasp as Bubba Watson beat him on the second playoff hole at Augusta National and denied him a chance at the Green Jacket.
Oosthuizen admitted the first few days after that Masters loss were hard -- although a win the following week at the Maybank Malaysia Open eased the pain "quite a bit," he said.
"Obviously I was disappointed not getting the win, but you get those tournaments where you're on the bad end of it," Oosthuizen said. "But you know, I didn't mind the way I finished second at the Masters. I got outplayed by a brilliant shot in the playoff, and I did really well the last round. I hung in there, so I was very pleased with the way I played."
Oosthuizen said he hasn't seen the shot Watson bent out of the trees to the right of the 10th fairway and onto the green on the second playoff hole again. "I've seen it once, and that was enough for me," he said good-naturedly. When pressed, he admitted, "If it comes on, I'll have a look. But I won't surf the Internet for it."
And had it not been for that career-defining shot by Watson, the albatross Oosthuizen made with a 4-iron from 253 yards on the second hole that Sunday would have been the shot of the tournament. It was just the fourth double eagle in the history of the Masters.
But Watson’s shot eclipsed the rarest of the rare. Still, Oosthuizen has a chance to make more history on Sunday at Firestone Country Club where he's one of just three players to shoot the first three rounds in the 60s this week.
This marks the third time Oosthuizen has been inside the top three in a PGA TOUR event this year, too. (In addition to the Masters, he led by two at the Shell Houston Open where he finished third.)
And there's nothing like a final-round pairing in a World Golf Championships to get Oosthuizen's juices flowing.
"That's what I work for,' he said. "That's what I practice for, to give myself good chances in these events, majors. After Malaysia there was quite a bit of a slump, just not finding any rhythm in my game, and since Colonial, Scottish Open, I started hitting the ball better and working on a few different things with Pete.
“And yeah, I'm getting there. I feel like I'm swinging it really well now."
AKRON, Ohio -- Louis Oosthuizen has closed the gap on Jim Furyk with a birdie on the par-5 16th hole at Firestone.
The South African, who won the 2010 British Open, was over the green in two, chipped to 3 feet and made the putt for his third birdie of the day against one bogey. He's now 10 under and one stroke behind Furyk, who had to make a 7-footer to save par at the same hole.
PGA champ Keegan Bradley is alone in third at 7 under after shooting 67 on Saturday. Rory McIlroy and Steve Stricker are another shot behind, tied for fourth, after rounds of 67 and 68, respectively.
AKRON, Ohio -- Overnight leader Jim Furyk has only played two holes and already he's doubled his lead on the rest of the field.
A par at No. 1 was good enough to extend Furyk's lead to three. That's because playing partner Rafael Carbrera-Bello, who trailed by two, made double bogey after barely getting out of a greenside bunker, shanking his chip and two-putting from 43 feet.
Furyk then birdied the par-5 second from the fringe to move to 12 under. Louis Oosthuizen is currently alone in second at 8 under after opening with three straight pars while Cabrera-Bello and Jason Dufner are tied, another stroke off the pace.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
One of the year’s better stories on the PGA TOUR was authored last week by Ben Curtis, ending a six-year winless drought on TOUR with a win at the Valero Texas Open.
Curtis was the Cinderella champion won the 2003 British Open (Valero T2 finisher John Huh was 13 years old then) and two events in 2006, then a few years later dropped off the radar. This year he as many starts on the European Tour than the PGA TOUR (three each) before winning in Texas.
In winning by two shots at TPC San Antonio, Curtis had another first of sorts – the first win for Titleist’s AP1 712 irons. Most Titleist players on TOUR play the AP2 irons, which have more of a traditional blade feel and less offset. The AP1 irons have a high-density tungsten sole weight positioned toward the toe, increasing ball speed on off-center hits and reducing twist at impact.
Curtis had a 4-iron through pitching wedge in his AP1 set – which we’ll see a lot more of in the U.S. now that Curtis has winner’s status again on TOUR.
GOLDEN: Ping has enjoyed a great season so far, with wins on TOUR by Mark Wilson (Humana Challenge), John Huh (Mayakoba Golf Classic), Hunter Mahan (World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, Shell Houston Open).
All of its players have a gold-plated replica of their winning putters put in Ping’s vault in Scottsdale, Ariz., and sometimes even more special additions are put in the vault. A double eagle at the Masters would qualify, so a gold S56 4-iron was added to the vault recently in honor of Louis Oosthuizen’s feat. He also received one for his collection.
WEEKENDER: David Duval tested a Callaway Razr Fit driver against a Titleist 910D3 and TaylorMade RBZ last week, with the Callaway going into his bag at Valero at 9.1 degrees loft. He ended up making his first cut of the season after seven misses, and shot his best round on Sunday (71) to finish in a tie for 60th.
BY A HAIR: Amazing how just the slightest adjustments make all the difference for TOUR players. At TPC San Antonio, Derek Lamely thought a flatter lie angle would help to stop losing shots to the left with his 15-degree Callaway Diablo Octane Tour fairway wood . Callaway techs adjusted the angle by one degree – from 59 to 58 – allowing him to hit a baby fade. No more lefts. He finished T35 at Valero, his second-best finish of the season.
WINNER’S BAG: Curtis at the Valero Texas
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (Aldila RIP NV 65X shaft, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910Fd, (Aldila RIP 80X shaft, 13.5 degrees)
Hybrids: Titleist 910H (Aldila hybrid NV 85X shafts; 18, 20 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP1 712 (Dynamic Gold shafts; 4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled C-C 200 (52 degrees), C-C TVD (58 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Who wouldn't have thought about destiny?
Who wouldn't have figured this was going to be their day?
Louis Oosthuizen wasn't any different than the rest of us. After his historic double-eagle on the second hole -- the first on that hole and only the fourth in tournament history -- it was hard to settle down.
"I mean, you know, when something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it,'' he said. "That was my first double‑eagle ever. So it was tough; it was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course.
"But I felt like I found my rhythm going down 11, and you know, played well in from there.''
Just not well enough to walk off with his second major.
Oosthuizen, who started the day two shots behind third-round leader Peter Hanson, grabbed the lead with that albatross on the second hole, but it wasn't enough to hold off Bubba Watson, who birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine -- 13, 14, 15, and 16 -- to tie him and force a playoff. Two holes later, Oosthuizen bogeyed the 10th hole and Watson parred for the win.
"He played brilliant,'' said Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open. "And, you know, I don't feel like I could have hit two better putts in the playoff. So, it's a hard day, but you know, congrats to Bubba.''
The two couldn't have more dissimilar games, but they both parred the first playoff hole. But Oosthuizen got into trouble at the second playoff hole -- the 10th.
"For me it's an easy tee shot,'' he said. "It's 3‑wood, I turn a 3‑wood over quite easy, and I just caught it a little bit off the heel and it went to the right. I wanted to get it down there to have a little bit flatter lie, and hit a great second shot, the ball didn't go anywhere.
"I had exactly the same distance as I had on 10 in regulation round, and hit the same club. I just wanted to pitch it somewhere five, six yards onto the green, and the ball just didn't go anywhere. So yeah, it's just one of those . . . "
A few minutes later, he watched Watson two-putt for the win.
"He hit an unbelievable shot there," Oosthuizen said. "I played well. This is not one I felt like I played badly. Great stuff to him. He deserves it."
As for the albatross? He gauged it as 210 yards to the front of the green -- a good 4-iron for him.
Instead, he hit a great one.
"I needed to pitch it about five, six paces on the green, and I knew if I get it right, it's going to feed towards the hole,'' he said. "But never thought it would go in.''
It did. For history. Just not for a Green Jacket.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Louis Oosthuizen made history Sunday when he became the first player to make a double eagle on the par-5 second hole at Augusta National. It also gave him the lead at 10 under.
There were 19,809 rounds played at the second, named Pink Dogwood, before the historic feat.
Using a 4-iron on the 575-yard hole the South African slung his shot onto the green from 253 yards, watched it take a couple of hops and roll into the back right hole location. Afterward, Oosthuizen tossed the ball into the crowd.
The patron who caught it, has since given the ball to Augusta National Golf Club, officials confirmed.
It was just the fourth double eagle in tournament history (see chart) and the first since Jeff Maggert made one from 222 yards on the par-5 13th with a 3-iron.
The auction house Green Jacket Auctions said Sunday that if Oosthuizen wins, it would offer $20,000 for the double eagle ball.
The most famous double eagle here came from Gene Sarazen in 1935 when he hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” using a 4-wood from 235 yards on the 15th hole. The Sarazen Bridge stands in his honor. He went on to win the tournament, defeating Fred Wood in a 36-hole playoff.
Oosthuizen’s double eagle came 77 years and one day after Sarazen’s did.
With the shot, Oosthuizen wins a large crystal bowl -- and could end up winning his first Green Jacket.
History of double eagles in the Masters
|Gene Sarazen||1935||Fourth||15th||235 yards||4-wood|
|Bruce Devlin||1967||First||8th||248 yards||4-wood|
|Jeff Maggert||1994||Fourth||13th||222 yards||3-iron|
|Louis Oosthuizen||2012||Fourth||2nd||253 yards||4-iron|