April 13, 2019 / 1:30 AM / 6 months ago

Oosthuizen, Harding flying the flag for South Africa at Masters

Golf - Masters - Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, Georgia, U.S. - April 12, 2019 - Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa finishes on the 18th hole during second round play. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Louis Oosthuizen put himself firmly in Masters contention with a career-best 66 at Augusta National on Friday but while he was happy to share the lead after the second round he said his focus was on getting it right over the closing nine holes on Sunday.

Oosthuizen, whose sole major win came at the 2010 British Open, leads the way at the Masters on seven-under 137, alongside fellow major winners Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott.

His round of 66, which featured seven birdies and a solitary bogey, was a five-stroke improvement over his first-round performance and the 36-year-old hoped the third round would offer a little more consistency.

“I just need a decent, solid round tomorrow, not play yourself out of it and stay in touch with everyone,” said Oosthuizen, who won the South African Open for the first time in December.

“This golf course, you win it on the back nine on Sunday. We’ve seen over the years anything can happen on the back nine.”

While few would bat an eyelid at seeing Oosthuizen in contention for the Green Jacket, the same cannot be said for countryman Justin Harding, who is just one shot off the lead at the first men’s major of the year.

Five birdies on the back nine helped Harding to a second consecutive 69 and the 33-year-old told reporters he was making the most of his maiden trip to the Masters, even if he is still struggling to believe he is even playing at the prestigious tournament.

“Look, it still gives me the giggles just being here,” said Harding. “I’ve got a couple of friends out here, family is out watching, as well. We’re just having a nice time and enjoying the birdies.”

Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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