Reuters - Thu, 22 Jul 16:47:00 2010
Open champion Louis Oosthuizen continued his sublime form to share the lead in the Scandinavian Masters first round.
The 27-year-old South African, who romped to his first Major title at St Andrews on Sunday, made five birdies on the back nine to card a five-under-par 67, level with Australian Richard Green and American Dustin Johnson.
"The last thing I wanted to do was put up a bad show because the crowds have been unbelievable to me, cheering me on every tee and green," Oosthuizen said.
He drew level with Green with a 35-foot birdie putt on the last after holing putts of 30 and 25 feet earlier in the round.
"I didn't feel any pressure and I guess playing straight after the Open in a way makes it a bit easier because you know you are hitting it well and I made some great putts on the back nine," Oosthuizen said.
"I'm very tired when I get back to the hotel room and I woke up tired this morning, so it definitely drained me last week.
"But I'm encouraged by knowing I'll be taking time off next week."
Left-hander Green, who competed in the Australian Grand Prix GT motor racing category last year, was happy with his more conventional driving.
"My driving has been pretty scratchy this year but a friend this week brought me out an old driver I'd used before and it seems to be doing me some good," he said.
Johnson, playing on invitation after finishing tied 14th at St Andrews, matched Oosthuizen and Green with a flawless card containing five birdies.
"I wanted to see a bit of Europe so I came here," Johnson said. "I found the course fits my eye perfectly."
The top trio led by a stroke from a group including Italian Edoardo Molinari who can join brother Francesco in Europe's automatic nine Ryder Cup places with second place in Sweden.
Former Ryder Cup player Jesper Parnevik, once Sweden's top golfer, recorded a 75 on his comeback from a broken vertebrae which has kept him off the fairways for over six months.
The 45-year-old U.S. based Swede had been worried about running up an embarrassing score.
"I was so nervous about how my back would react I only decided to play late last night," Parnevik said.
"I knew there was a danger I could shoot 90 but after hitting a semi-shank with my second shot my round was actually quite solid.
"The back pain is still there, though, and after this tournament I'll have to go back to rehabilitation until the pain has gone completely."