The Shell Houston Open may not be a springboard to The Masters, but it certainly is used as preparation for the first major championship of the year. Of course, the golfers in the field are trying to win the event, but even more so, they are trying to prepare for the obstacles they will face at Augusta National in two weeks.
South African Louis Oosthuizen already has a major championship title under his belt, having won the 2010 British Open. It may be the one that got away that is at the forefront of his mind heading into The Maters, however. Oosthuizen was part of the playoff at last year’s Master’s when Bubba Watson captured his first career major championship and donned the coveted Green Jacket.
Oosthuizen peaked at the right time early last year, playing great golf ahead of The Masters. He was the 54-hole leader at the Shell Houston Open, which took place the week right before Augusta last year. He might have pulled a win had a final round 75 in the final round not moved him into a solo third place finish.
“I’m working on getting the game right for the Masters and still got a few things that I’m working on,” he said. “I need to tidy up some shots. I hit it really well today and made some putts. The key to playing well at Augusta is making putts.”
This could be déjà vu all over again, as Oosthuizen fired a third round 65 to move into contention in Texas this week. He currently sits tied for seventh at nine under par, just two shots off of the lead. While it’s not an exact replica of last year since he’s not tied for the lead and there’s one more event before Augusta, he has to be feeling just as good about his game as he did last year.
A huge component to any success as The Masters is having the confidence to attack the course when opportunities are presented. In order to have that confidence, players need to know their game is in good shape heading into the event. Another good finish this week could just give Oosthuizen the confidence he needs to win his second major championship.