Oosthuizen finished with a flourish. SIPA USA/PA Images
PGA Tour

Oosthuizen and Schwartzel combine to shoot low in New Orleans

Ireland’s Graeme McDowell had an average day as he and partner, Matt Wallace, dropped 16 places from ninth to 25th.

AFTER THE DIFFICULTIES of yesterday’s alternate-shot format, there was some low scoring at today’s third round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the PGA tour’s lone official two-man team event.

All the teams went out in best-ball format and shot some low scores at TPC Louisiana. On what was a low day for scoring, there were some superb performances, not least from South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. They shot nine under to move into first place, with Australia’s Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith just one shot behind.

Between them, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel fired nine birdies – as Schwartzel carried his partner for the majority of the round, birdying five of the first 13 holes, Oosthuizen getting birdies on 11, 16, then a superb two at the par 3, 17th before he also birdied the last.

Playing ahead of them, Leishman and Smith figured out what worked for them. Their approach play was excellent throughout the day, their putting just as impressive.

Smith was on fire on the front nine, birdying the first, then a par 3, third. Birdies on five and eight followed but he failed to replicate that form on the back nine, leaving it to Leishman to take hold of the baton.

He did it effortlessly. In total, he had five birdies, three on the back nine and after sharing the lead with their South African rivals for much of the afternoon, they fell one back when Oosthuizen birdied his final hole.

Plenty of others are in contention. Big hitters Tony Finau and Cameron Champ were on 17-under through 17, after leading the tournament on 13-under 131 through 36 holes. Joining them there were Scottie Scheffler and Bubba Watson who shot 6-under today.

The foursomes format, seldomly played outside of Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup matches, offered a big test of the players’ resolve yesterday.  

“Foursomes is always a tricky format,” said Henrik Stenson, the 2016 Open champion. “We know that. But it’s never going to be as tricky when you’ve got a good partner like I do. We talked about that earlier in the week, to trust, and having done this so many times before, we kind of go about things like we normally do. Yeah, we played a very solid round of foursomes out there.”

Ireland’s Graeme McDowell had an average day, relying on partner, Matt Wallace, to carry him. They dropped 16 places from ninth to 25th, even though they shot 68, highlighting how well everyone else played.

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