JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen rued his poor putting after finishing second at the PGA Championship, at the Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island Resort, in South Carolina, on Sunday.
Oosthuizen fired a final round one-over 73 to finish tied second, on four-under, two shots behind American Phil Mickelson who became the oldest player to even win a major at 50-years-old.
Oosthuizen, who also struggled with his putter in round three when he carded a 72, admitted if he had performed better on the greens he may have just lifted a second major trophy.
“I felt I hit decent iron shots. I thought -- the ones that I hit a poor putt, I stroked it really nice today and just didn't make anything. Every single putt I hit finished right behind the hole, so it was frustrating with that,” said Oosthuizen.
The 2010 Open champion had already finished second at every major and this latest result brought his runner-up finishes to five in the big four events.
“I feel like I'm playing my heart out to get a second major, and I do know I have the game to do it. This was close. My game wasn't great on the weekend. It was better today than yesterday. So I just need to work harder on it to get myself in contention again.”
Despite his frustrations, and opportunity to end South Africa’s nine-year major drought, Oosthuizen tried to look on the bright side.
“Another second place, I've got to take it. But I feel like I could have probably get two or three more shots out of my game.”
A double bogey on the par four 13th seemed to end the challenge of Oosthuizen, and even a final birdie of the day on the par five 16th, where he was inches away from an eagle, meant he could not close the gap on Mickelson any further.
“A five would have been fine there [on 13]. That was such a tough golf hole. I feel sometimes in a round of golf, you need to take on that one shot, and if I pulled it off, I would have had probably a 10-, 15-footer for par. But I felt at that stage, I think I was four behind. I needed to do something. [But] Yeah, didn't happen.”
Having been tied with Mickelson after two rounds on five-under, Oosthuizen was chasing the left-hander for much of the weekend - and that slowly took its toll.
“I tried to be as aggressive as I could without doing stupid things. You know, 13, my third shot, I felt like I had to be aggressive to give myself maybe a 15-footer for par and just caught it off the heel, and if it's windy like that in a crosswind, you know the wind is going to take it into the water.
“It was just a bad strike. But coming in, I thought I hit it well, started hitting my driver really good and made good putts and a good chip on 17, and wasn't meant to be.”
To get to five-under at the halfway stage, Oosthuizen was putting well and avoiding any mistakes. The errors, however, were there on the weekend finding water hazards and making very few putts. Despite not having his best over the weekend, Oosthuizen still managed to challenge for the title - which was impressive.
As for the performance of the ageless Mickelson to win his sixth major, eight years after his fifth, Oosthuizen was full of praise.
“The golf shots he hit yesterday, not looking at the two bad tee shots he hit, was very impressive. It was like the Phil that I remember watching just when I turned pro and it was great to see. I mean, what an achievement to win a major at 50-years-old, and he deserves all of that today. It was not easy with the wind, and you know, he kept calm to win this. That's unbelievable stuff.” - African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Michael Sherman