Oosthuizen one off clubhouse lead at foggy Ballantine's Championship

Louis Oosthuizen at the Ballantine's Championship
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Louis Oosthuizen opened the Ballantine's Championship with a 6-under 30.
PGA.com news services

Series: European Tour

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 4:00 p.m.

SEOUL, South Korea -- Five players hold the clubhouse lead after shooting 5-under 67s on Thursday in the incomplete first round of the fog-affected Ballantine's Championship on the European Tour.

Jean Baptiste Gonnet, Johan Edfors, Kieran Pratt, Matthew Baldwin and Kim Gi-wang are leading after fog engulfed the Blackstone Golf Club to force a delay of 2 hours, 10 minutes. Half the field will complete their rounds early Friday.

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen is a stroke back with two holes to play.

Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, topped the leaderboard at 6 under before dropping a stroke on his last two holes.

Y.E. Yang of South Korea, who became the only Asian-born player to win a major at the 2009 PGA Championship, shot a 70.

Oosthuizen made the journey from Florida to South Korea in a private jet and made an appropriately flying start with an outward 6-under-par 30 to grab the outright lead. But his chances of leading overnight disappeared with bogeys on the 10th and 12th, while 22-year-old Fleetwood birdied three of his last four holes before bad light brought play to a close for the day.

World No. 7 Oosthuizen had brilliantly got up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-five 5 and then hit his approach to the second to five feet, before holing from 15 and 20 feet respectively on the third and fourth to make it four birdies in succession.

That run came to an end on the par-5 fifth when a hooked drive and poor approach shot eventually forced Oosthuizen to hole from seven feet for par, but normal service was resumed on the next with another birdie from four feet.

Oosthuizen also birdied the eighth from 12 feet to reach the turn in just 30 shots, but could not pick up a single shot on the seven holes of his back nine played before the close.

“It’s a good start,” said Oosthuizen. “I’m hitting it really well. I made nice putts, hit it fairly close the front nine, and probably made one or two longish birdie putts. 

“Then teed off on 10 and the wind came in, with the weather coming in, and I probably just missed two shots and put myself in really tough spots to get up and down and made bogey,” he added. “But I’m feeling good, spinning it well – I haven't hit it that well in a while like I did on the front nine.” 

The 29-year-old Gonnet, whose best finish in seven years on the European Tour was a runner-up in Scandinavia back in 2007, had completed an outward 32 before the break, then after eight straight pars on the back nine found the par-5 18th green in two and two-putted for birdie.

“It was good to put my name up right away, because I haven't played like this for more than a year,” said Gonnet, who had broken 70 only once previously in 2013. “I played pretty straight off the tee, and my putting was great; five under is a good score.”

Edfors, without a European Tour title since claiming three victories in his rookie season back in 2006, holed a 10-footer at the 14th for one of six birdies in his round.

“I was really happy I came out of the block pretty good there on the front nine and played some really, really good golf,” he said.

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, playing the back nine first, turned in a 3-under 33; however, the Austrian had a few putting problems after the resumption and slipped back to 1 under.