Zander Lombard stormed out of the blocks and never looked back during the opening round of The Open but the same cannot be said of Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen, who pulled out of the Scottish Open with a neck niggle, bogeyed the 16th and 17th to finish his round at +1 despite four birdies at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The 2010 Open champion went out in 31 but then got himself right back into the round with three birdies in four holes shortly after the turn, including draining a monster putt on the 14th.
That momentum was halted sharply with two late drops, which leaves the South African six shots behind Kevin Kisner.
Lombard, who qualified via the Irish Open, continued his work back into top form with a bright start on Thursday. The young South African raced into contention with four birdies in his outward nine with his putter the star of the show.
A slow back nine – one bogey and one birdie – followed as he missed a number of chances coming home but the opening 67 leaves him in perfect position heading into Friday’s second round alongside Erik van Rooyen and one ahead Brandon Stone.
‘I think it’s playing fair,’ he said. ‘Even if you stray, you’ve got a chance at making par. Have a chance to avoid the bunkers, which I did today.
‘You’ve got a chance to control your ball out there, and I think I did pretty well.
‘It’s been a long road to get here. I worked really hard for six months, played sub-par golf. But really quite a bit of confidence going off the Irish Open, and I’m just in a good space of mind and ready for the weekend.
‘Us South Africans, we feed off each other’s confidence. We’re all good friends. It’s nice seeing each other play well. Hopefully, we can motivate each other to get the win.’
Two-time Open champion Ernie Els finished with a birdie-free 73 on Thursday in a round that started with a bogey and a string of pars before his second drop at the 16th. Retief Goosen, who played his way to Carnoustie via sectional qualifying, joined Shaun Norris on +3.
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