Louis Oosthuizen survived an injury scare early on to finish within two of sole leader Kevin Kisner, with 18 holes left to play at the PGA Championship.
Oosthuizen’s scare came early on, as opposed to on The Green Mile – the famed final three holes of the course – which ended the challenges of Rickie Fowler and Jason Day.
Fowler failed to birdie the easiest hole on the course – the par 5 15th – and then three-putted 16, found the water and made double on 17 before another three-putt on 18 saw him go from five-under and in the mix to one-under.
And Day? The 2015 winner was four-under and looking extremely likely to be one of the main players on Sunday. Then the 54th hole changed that. He opted to play a shot from behind a tree and then found a flower bed, resulting in a drop. It was a case of error upon error before he finished with a quadruple bogey, and now sits on even-par.
Oosthuizen is the only player in the top 15 that has a Major to his name, but it could’ve been very different.
His risky approach shot at the second hole saw him strike the root of a tree. The effects appeared instant, with a physical therapist called to assist.
The blow did little to throw the 2010 Open champion off his game as he worked his way around Quail Hollow finishing with a level-par 71.
‘It’s fine. You know, it wasn’t hurting at all,’ Oosthuizen said. ‘I didn’t feel like it was painful or anything. It was just, it got tight really quickly.
‘Sort of when you close your hand like that, I could feel it all over. I thought it would be good to get the physio and release it. He just did a proper release of it. There was no pain. I could hit my shots, no worries.’
A new 8-iron will go into the bag for Sunday as Oosthuizen attempts to chase down Kisner, who shot 73, while Hideki Matsuyama and Chris Stroud sit one behind Kisner with 18 to play in the year’s final Major.
Richard Sterne is SA’s next best in T26, Charl Schwartzel is T37 and Dylan Frittelli is T68.
54 hole leaderboard of the 99th PGA Championship:
206 – Kevin Kisner (USA) 67-67-72
207 – Chris Stroud (USA) 68-68-71, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 70-64-73
208 – Justin Thomas (USA) 73-66-69, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 70-67-71
210 – Grayson Murray (USA) 68-73-69
211 – Graham DeLaet (CAN) 70-73-68, Patrick Reed (USA) 69-73-69, Gary Woodland (USA) 68-74-69, Scott Brown (USA) 73-68-70, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 73-64-74
212 – Chez Reavie (USA) 72-70-70, Kang Sung (KOR) 70-71-71, Ryan Fox (NZL) 75-66-71, Rickie Fowler (USA) 69-70-73
213 – Paul Casey (ENG) 69-70-74, Jason Day (AUS) 70-66-77
214 – J.B. Holmes (USA) 74-73-67, Satoshi Kodaira (JPN) 71-76-67, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 74-70-70, Robert Streb (USA) 74-70-70, Chris Wood (ENG) 72-72-70, James Hahn (USA) 73-70-71, Tony Finau (USA) 69-74-71, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 71-69-74
215 – Billy Horschel (USA) 76-70-69, Pat Perez (USA) 70-76-69, Richard Sterne (RSA) 73-72-70, Jordan Smith (ENG) 70-75-70, Matt Kuchar (USA) 71-74-70, Zach Johnson (USA) 71-73-71, Brian Harman (USA) 69-75-71, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 72-71-72, Ryan Moore (USA) 71-71-73, Brooks Koepka (USA) 68-73-74, D.A. Points (USA) 68-73-74
216 – Kevin Chappell (USA) 72-75-69, Sean O’Hair (USA) 71-75-70, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 67-78-71, David Lingmerth (SWE) 72-73-71, Jordan Spieth (USA) 72-73-71, Ian Poulter (ENG) 74-71-71, Jon Rahm (ESP) 70-75-71, Jim Herman (USA) 69-75-72, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 74-70-72, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 73-71-72
217 Kelly Kraft (USA) 73-73-71, Marc Leishman (AUS) 75-71-71, Jamie Lovemark (USA) 74-71-72, Steve Stricker (USA) 75-70-72, Jason Kokrak (USA) 75-70-72, Lucas Glover (USA) 75-70-72, Keegan Bradley (USA) 74-70-73, Dustin Johnson (USA) 70-74-73, Bill Haas (USA) 75-69-73, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 72-72-73, Shane Lowry (IRE) 74-69-74, Bud Cauley (USA) 69-74-74
218 – Jason Dufner (USA) 74-72-72, Webb Simpson (USA) 76-70-72, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 70-75-73, Alex Noren (SWE) 74-69-75
219 – Charley Hoffman (USA) 75-71-73
220 – K.T. Kim (KOR) 73-72-75, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 71-75-74, Lee Westwood (ENG) 73-72-75, Daniel Summerhays (USA) 76-67-77
221 – Cody Gribble (USA) 72-75-74, Adam Scott (AUS) 71-76-74, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 72-73-76, Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 73-71-77
223 – Russell Henley (USA) 75-71-77
224 – Vijay Singh (FIJ) 75-70-79, Omar Uresti (USA) 74-70-80
225 – Charles Howell III (USA) 78-69-78
Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images