South African Oosthuizen closing in on runner-up Grand Slam

Jul 20, 2015, 2:06 PM
United States’ Zach Johnson, second from right, shakes hands with South Africa’ Louis O...
United States' Zach Johnson, second from right, shakes hands with South Africa' Louis Oosthuizen, left, alongside Australia's Marc Leishman after he won a playoff after the final round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Louis Oosthuizen is closing in on a career Grand Slam of sorts.

One he’d rather not have.

For the third time in his career — and second time in a month — the South African was runner-up in a major championship. This time, it was the British Open, where he lost to Zach Johnson in a playoff Monday evening.

Marc Leishman, an Australia with only one PGA Tour win, also got in the four-hole playoff. A bogey at No. 1 essentially ended his chances.

Oosthuizen took it right to the end, misreading putts on the final two holes — one from 5 feet on the 17th hole, the other from 12 feet at the 18th — that could have forced sudden death with Johnson.

“It’s never nice to lose a playoff,” Oosthuizen moaned. “He left the door open on 17 (where Johnson made a bogey), and I didn’t take advantage of it.”

Oosthuizen lost a playoff at the Masters three years ago, when Bubba Watson pulled off a ridiculous hook from the pine straw on the second extra hole.

Almost a month ago to the day, Oosthuizen was beaten in regulation by Jordan Spieth at the U.S. Open, a tournament best remembered for Dustin Johnson’s three-putt on the 72nd hole when he had a chance to win.

That sent Spieth to the home of golf with two straight major titles and the Grand Slam still in play.

The young Texan missed out on the playoff by a single stroke, ending his bid to become the first player to sweep all four majors in a year.

Instead, it’s Oosthuizen who heads to Whistling Straits next month with his own little bit of history on the line — the PGA Championship is the only major in which he has not finished second.

“I’ll take a lot out of this week,” he insisted, looking for a bright side. “It’s not first, but I’ll take it.”

At least Oosthuizen has a major title. He won the British Open in 2010, the last time it was held at St. Andrews.

He’s shown more than enough game to win another.

At Chambers Bay, Oosthuizen rallied brilliantly from an opening 77, posting three straight rounds in the 60s but coming up short again, one stroke behind. In his return to St. Andrews, he was right there again for the claret jug.

Just a little short again.

On a leaderboard dominated by Spieth and a bunch of major winners, Leishman was the definite outsider. He had the tournament in his grasp, going to the 16th hole with a one-stroke lead only to miss a 4-foot putt, ending a streak of 34 straight holes without a bogey going back to the second round.

Leishman managed to par the last two holes for a 6-under 66 and a spot the playoff, but another short putt lipped out on No. 1, a hole that Johnson and Oosthuizen birdied for a two-shot swing. The Aussie was essentially out of it after that, his hopes completely dashed with another bogey at No. 17 — the third extra hole.

“I was definitely happy with the way I played and gave it my best shot,” said Leishman, who also turned in the best round of the week, a third-round 64. “Zach just played really well in the playoff, and I didn’t have my best stuff.”

Leishman won’t fret over the loss for long, not after what he went through earlier this year. His wife, Audrey, was stricken with a life-threatening illness, forcing him to drop out of the Masters. She’s better now, and her husband has a new perspective.

“Yeah, mate, I’m happy,” he said. “I can go home tomorrow and hug Audrey and (their two young) boys and celebrate a little bit. It would have been nice to have the claret jug to drink out of to celebrate, but I’ll find something else.”


Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Penguin Air


Phil Mickelson of the United States waits to play his tee shot on the 16th hole during the final ro...
Associated Press

LIV Golf faces hurdles in applying for world ranking points

The OWGR handbook says the board can admit or reject any new tour regardless of compliance and change criteria at its discretion.
3 days ago
Matthew Wolff reacts after a shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the Travelers Champio...
Associated Press

Matthew Wolff, Ortiz among the latest to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf

The Saudi-funded LIV Golf series has added 23-year-old Matthew Wolff and Oklahoma State's Eugenio Chacarra of Spain.
4 days ago
Phil Mickelson of the United States , second left, waits to play his tee shot on the 16th hole duri...
Associated Press

British Open allows golfers from Saudi-backed series to play

Players who have joined LIV Golf will still be allowed to compete at the British Open next month, organizers said on Wednesday.
9 days ago
Brooks Koepka reacts to his shot off the 12th tee during the final round of the PGA Championship go...
Associated Press

Report: Brooks Koepka the latest to join Saudi-backed LIV series

Brooks Koepka, among the first players to denounce a rival league for only 48 players, is the latest PGA Tour player to sign with LIV Golf.
10 days ago
Grayson Murray of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round of th...
Haboob Blog

Pro golfer Grayson Murray steals show at U.S. Open with meltdown

Pro golfer Grayson Murray was having a tough go of it Sunday morning at the 122nd U.S. Open. Just ask his golf clubs.
11 days ago
Jon Rahm, of Spain, hits on the 18th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament a...
Associated Press

ASU’s Jon Rahm sits 1 stroke off lead at U.S. Open heading into Sunday

Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick avoided the carnage that took down golf's best Saturday at the U.S. Open.
13 days ago
South African Oosthuizen closing in on runner-up Grand Slam