It was one of those Masters moments, and it could have meant Louis Oosthuizen began a long, slow slide down from the upper reaches of the leaderboard on Saturday. But instead, he rebounded and goes into the third round at six-under-par, just three off the lead.
Lurking just two off the pace at seven-under, Oosthuizen hit his approach to the par-four 14th and, with the flag in the front of the green just atop the false front, he didn’t carry it enough. He elected to putt his third from the fairway, and, again, he didn’t get it on to of the plateau. It rolled back 10 metres to his right, and his second attempt at a putt took him to six feet from the pin. His bogey putt horseshoed out, and he ended up with a double-bogey six.
He could easily have let his shoulders slump – so many really good golfers, not great, do – and sulked his way home. Instead, he birdied the par-five 15th, just missed a birdie putt on 16, lipped out from 14 feet for birdie on 17 and then made a solid par on 18.
His weekend chances at making another charge for that green jacket are well and truly alive, as he joined fellow-South African Dylan Frittelli on six-under going into the third round.
Frittelli finished his second round on Friday, carding a roller-coaster one-over 73 with five bogeys and four birdies.
And Christiaan Bezuidenhout made the cut in his debut Masters, also carding a second-round 73. He had moved to five-under for the tournament and was heading into the top 10 at the halfway stage. But bogeys on 12, 15 and 16 set him back, although he will be happy to be there for the weekend. Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 champion, carded a one-under 71 to make the cut on the number.
Not so lucky was the man who played so well last year, Justin Harding. Erik van Rooyen withdrew after the first round with an injury.
For Oosthuizen, that glimpse of grit is going to give him plenty to work with for the weekend as he sets off in pursuit Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, Australia’s Cameron Smith, American’s Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson and Spain’s John Rahm.
The top three players in the world are ahead of him, but he’s beaten players like that before – and came so close at Augusta National when he lost in the 2012 play-off to Bubba Watson’s miracle shot.