Centurion - South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen carded a three-under 69 to move into contention in the weather-affected first round of The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass on Thursday.
Heavy rains coming into Thursday delayed the start of the first round, and then darkness meant a good portion of the field were unable to finish, or even begin in some cases, their opening rounds.
Oosthuizen lies three shots behind the current lead of six-under 66 in a tie for 11th, set by England’s Tommy Fleetwood and American Tom Hoge.
The 39-year-old Oosthuizen began his day on the 10th tee with a bogey five, but on 12 he hit his short iron approach from 156m to four feet which he converted for a birdie three to move back to level.
He would give that shot back with a bogey at the par three 13th, and three holes later an eagle at the par five 16th moved Oosthuizen into red figures. There Oosthuizen hit a fairway wood for his second with a little fade to 10ft before he poured in the putt.
At the famous island green 17th, Oosthuizen hit his tee shot to 20 feet and again stroked in the putt as he rose to two-under.
Though he bogeyed the par four first, he cashed in on the par five second. Having hit his second just about 10 feet short of the putting surface, Oosthuizen elected to putt from the fairway and could only get it to six foot. Showing good touch with the putter again, Oosthuizen glided in the testing downhiller for a birdie.
His final birdie of the day came at the par three eighth, where Oosthuizen’s putter showed off once more as he holed a 23-footer to move to three-under.
Painting the sky. 🎨— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 11, 2022
Every shot trail from 17 today. pic.twitter.com/bCCmwbmgXO
Erik van Rooyen was the next best SA player with a one-under round of 71 in a share of 40th.
Branden Grace was in a tie for 68th on level par, but he has played just three holes in his first round.
Dylan Frittelli was down in 99th position after a round of one-over 73, while Garrick Higgo was a further stroke adrift with an opening 74 in a tie for 116th.
Meanwhile, Charl Schwartzel has not even begun his first round.