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The Open: Forget Shrek, Louis is the big star

lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen was the name that everyone had to get their wind-chapped lips around here last night after a quite bizarre day on the links.

The calm of the first round of the 139th Open Championship had given way to the gust-ridden mayhem of the second round.

Yes, the Old Course had struck back. But only after allowing an unheralded South African to steal a march on the field.

In fairness to Oosthuizen — known as Louis in the programme and Shrek to his friends — his early-morning 67 for a championship-equalling halfway total of 12-under was beautifully composed.

Like his nearest pursuers on the scoreboard — Mark Calcavecchia on seven-under, England's Paul Casey and Lee Westwood nicely-placed on six-under — he had made the most of his good fortune.

And oh how he must have enjoyed returning to his hotel room sometime before lunch and watching the wind gauge rise to 40mph.

The afternoon starters who had capitalised on the benign birdie-filled millpond of the morning before were now presented with a bogey-laden whirlpool. It was fair to say the links lottery had balanced the books somewhat. After his opening 63, Rory McIlroy was in freefall, while Tiger Woods was having to call on every magical morsel of his recovery powers to stay right in the hunt.

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Oosthuizen's five-stroke clubhouse lead over the resurgent 1989 champion Calcavecchia was looking more solid by the second.

And all the while Louis would have laughed. The world No. 54 had come into this championship with a record in the majors to inspire dread rather than hope. Oosthuizen had appeared in eight majors before and missed the cut in seven of them.

The one time he had made the weekend — at the 2008 USPGA — he finished dead last.

“Not a great record, was it?” said Oosthuizen, flashing the gap-tooth smile which led to the cruel nickname. “It was a matter of not believing in myself, I think. But that win earlier this season just got my mind set in a different way.”

He has made it his mission to stay out of the bunkers and that gameplan, together with a hot birdie, took him as low as Woods had been after two rounds at Hoylake four years ago.

“It's probably the position anyone wants to be in playing a major on the weekend,” said Oosthuizen.

Casey and Westwood are also right there in the mix, but first they must get past Oosthuizen — and the Old Course, of course. The Old Lady made them believe she was a pale version of her former self. She isn't; she's still the same. When her best friend the wind blows she's as demanding as ever.

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