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."