BRO, Sweden // Louis Oosthuizen, the British Open champion, had his roughest ride for a week but the South African was still in contention for a Scandinavian Masters title to follow his major win, holding third place after a round of 70. Oosthuizen, 27, slipped five strokes off the second-round lead at one point yesterday but recovered gamely to trail the front-runner, KJ Choi of Korea, by two shots.
Choi set the halfway target with a five-under-par 67 which moved him to nine-under 135. Oosthuizen lost ground badly just before reaching the turn, when he hit into the lake at the par-three 17th, his eighth hole, to run up a double-bogey. That took Choi, playing a group ahead of him, five strokes in front after the Korean picked up an eagle and three birdies in five holes. Both players had putting problems but Oosthuizen rallied to birdie two of his last three holes and draw closer to Choi.
"I didn't putt as well as I have been doing and missed a few right-to-left putts, so I'll be practising those," Oosthuizen said. His victory at St Andrews and a confident first round in Sweden had been fashioned around accomplished putting. "All of us misjudged the wind on the 17th and it proved costly for me. After that it was fine, though, and I hit two good shots on 18." Choi, seeking a second European Tour title to go with seven victories on the US PGA Tour, holed a 25-foot birdie putt and sank a 10-foot putt for his eagle. However, he twice missed putts of around two feet as his form on greens continued to be enigmatic.
He is tinkering with a putting action from outside his right hip, once favoured by the late Sam Snead. Choi tried it in at the British Open but missed the cut and said he is loath to use it this week. The 2008 winner of the event, Peter Hanson of Sweden (68) and American Dustin Johnson (73), held third place in the clubhouse on 140, five strokes off the lead. * Reuters