Louis Oosthuizen was in fine form at the WGC match play. Photo: Michael Sherman/African News Agency

AUSTIN – Louis Oosthuizen said 'everything fell into place' when he found his putting rhythm as he progressed to the knockout stages of the WGC Match Play in Austin, Texas, with a commanding 4&3 win over England’s Tommy Fleetwood on Friday.

It set up a tough match in the round of 16 with Australia’s Marc Leishman. 

Branden Grace also made it into the round of 16 by dominating his group which was headed by world number one Dustin Johnson.

“I just found something early in the round that I had I started off looking for,” he said. 

“I felt I was missing something in my putting stroke and found it. I started getting good hits on the putt and started reading it good, as well. So everything sort of fell into place.

“It was tempo that was missing, really. I felt my tempo was out the first two days. I felt I got long on my back stroke and sort of decelerated through, and couldn’t really pinpoint what it was. And even just on my first putt today I did the same. 

"And as I did it I sort of realised what I was doing wrong. After that, I started rolling the putts really good. And once you start rolling it good, you start reading it better and I just knew I had to keep my ball in play because I’m going to have a chance on the greens.”

Oosthuizen has started scrapping his way back into form ahead of the Masters next month, and the match play event has given him the perfect forum to regain his confidence. 

He hasn’t won that many holes in the event, but it has been enough to get him through on the back of the high number of birdies he’s made.

“You can have those days where you’re not playing really good but sort of mentally you grind it out  -and fight it out, sort of don’t give your guy anything, just showing you’re there, not going away,” he said.

He will need that kind of grit against Leishman, as the Aussie has been impressive this week. “It will be a tough match,” he said. “Marc is playing some good golf. It will be a tough match. Hopefully we play some good golf.”

Grace will be up against Sergio Garcia, while Harding, who beat Luke List in his final match in the group stages, was not able to progress with Rory McIlroy dominating proceedings in that group.

However, Harding has the consolation of being certain to finish inside the world’s top-50 and snaring that coveted invitation to play in the Masters. 

African News Agency (ANA)