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Sunday, March 31, 2013
Similar situation for Louis Oosthuizen


HUMBLE, Texas -- Louis Oosthuizen has one of the best golf swings in the world. With that fluid move, it's easy to predict he would be in contention in every event he enters.

Last year, Oosthuizen took a 2-shot lead into the final round in Houston, but he threw it away with a 5-over 41 on the front nine at the Tournament Course at Redstone. The 30-year-old South African, who shocked the world with a 7-shot win in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, finished third in Houston.

Up to that point in the season, Oosthuizen hadn't done much in his previous starts. Houston seemed to light a fire in him that peaked in the final round of the Masters, when he made a double-eagle at the par-5 second hole on his way to a playoff loss against Bubba Watson.

After a 7-under 65 on Saturday in the third round in Houston, Oosthuizen is in a similar place as he was at this time last year. With a 9-under total, he is 2 shots back of the lead shared by Stewart Cink and Bill Haas.

On Saturday, he had a difficult time explaining his good play in the Bayou City.

"I don't know," he said. "Probably the excitement of playing Augusta in two weeks. [Redstone] is a great track. I think it's a great way to get yourself ready for Augusta.

"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."

Come Sunday, look for Oosthuizen to apply some pressure on the leaders.

"It's always a bit easier chasing," he said. "Early on is very important in the final round of chasing. You need to start well, make a couple of birdies the first six, seven holes just to show your face and just keep the pressure on."

Slow down

Remember Billy Horschel? He's the 26-year-old former Florida Gator who played the last 36 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open in January with Tiger Woods. He's the guy who shot 66-69 in his first two rounds at Torrey Pines, then went 76-75 under the microscopic of the GOAT and his throng of followers.

The Shell Houston Open could present a great learning experience for the Grant, Fla., native, whose best career finish on the PGA Tour is a third at the 2012 True South Classic.

At 9 under after a 5-under 67 on Saturday in the third round, Horschel has a good chance on Sunday of winning his first tour title.

"The more I get into contention, the more I get comfortable with it," Horschel said. "I just got to keep doing what I'm doing. I don't need to worry about anything else but focusing on my game. I can't worry about what this guy is doing or that guy. "

Horschel has also had to learn how to slow down. He said he's learned to be a little bit more deliberate and careful before he hits a shot.

When things go bad in a round, he tends to get faster and more reckless.

Twice this season, he has failed to break 80. Last week in the final round at Bay Hill, he shot an 85.

"When I'm playing good, it's no big deal," Horschel said. "But when things are going a little sideways, I get quicker and quicker. If I can just stay composed and patient and not rush through everything, I will be fine."

Season streak

Will the run of American winners continue in Houston?

The top six players on the leaderboard are Americans. Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood have the best chance of stopping the streak of American winners on tour from extending to 16 straight.

The run of American winners dates back to November, when Tommy Gainey took the McGladrey Classic.