Rory McIlroy's used to being the center of attention and leaving playing partners in awe on the course. Having two major championship wins by a total of 16 shots will do that to you. But for 18 holes on Sunday afternoon at the Deutsche Bank Championship, McIlroy found out exactly what it's like to be on the other side of a dominating performance.
Louis Oosthuizen knows a thing or two about humbling the field on golf's biggest stage. Two years ago at the the British Open, he won by seven shots to capture his first and only major championship at St Andrews.
While TPC Boston and the Home of Golf have nothing in common, Oosthuizen put on a vintage British Open performance at the Deutsche Bank Championship, opening the third round with eight birdies in his first 10 holes -- including seven straight starting on the 4th hole -- to storm out in front of an impressive leaderboard that included McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner and Phil Mickelson.
"Once I started getting birdies, making putts, I started going at the pins because my swing felt great," Oosthuizen said after posting 8-under 83 to take a three-shot lead, "and after 10 holes being 8‑under, you always think about getting it to 59. I didn't do anything different from there on in. I hit great shots on 11, 12, 13, 14, so I gave myself good chances to post that number."
On Thursday, Tiger Woods rattled off six birdies in a stretch before cooling off over the final few holes, so a low number was out there. That doesn't, however, diminish how impressive Oosthuizen's incredible birdie barrage was on the weekend at a FedExCup event.
After all, he started his round 8-under through his first 10 holes. Think about that for a second. We're talking about a score most of us could probably duplicate on a golf video game. But during a pressure-packed round with one of the hottest players in the spot watching on? That's beyond impressive.
Needless to say, Oosthuizen has some serious game, and it was on full display. The question remains: Can he do it again during the final round? Being paired with McIlroy won't be a big deal since he played with him on Sunday.
However, with so many 54-hole leaders blowing sizable leads this season, it'll be interesting to see if Oosthuizen can stave off not only McIlroy, who's three-shots back, but a group currently six back that includes a couple notable names in Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.
Oosthuizen's closed the deal in the past, so he knows what it takes to win. And if he shows up with something even remotely close to the performance he produced on Sunday, there's a good chance he could leave the rest of the field in his wake.