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Early birdie barrage lifts Oosthuizen in Korea

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa hits from a sand trap on the second hole during second round play in the 2013 Masters golf tournament at th
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa hits from a sand trap on the second hole during second round play in the 2013 Masters golf tournament at th

(Reuters) - World number seven Louis Oosthuizen was tucked in one stroke behind the leaders with two holes to go when bad light ended play prematurely in the Ballantine's Championship first round in South Korea on Thursday.

The South African, who flew in from his home in Florida on a private jet provided by the organizers of the European Tour event, was four-under through 16 holes in Seoul.

After a day when play was suspended for more than two hours due to rain and poor visibility, Oosthuizen trailed clubhouse leaders Jean-Baptiste Gonnet of France, Australian Kieran Pratt, Swede Johan Edfors, Briton Matthew Baldwin and South Korean Kim Gi-whan who all shot 67s.

Oosthuizen roared to the turn in 30 strokes thanks to six birdies in the opening eight holes including four in a row from the first.

The 2010 British Open champion, who missed the cut at the U.S. Masters earlier this month, then dropped back with bogeys at the 10th and 12th.

"It's a good start," Oosthuizen told reporters at the Blackstone Golf and Country Club. "I'm hitting it really well and hit it fairly close on the front nine.

"When I teed off on 10 the wind and the weather came in ... but I'm feeling good. I haven't hit it as well as I did on that front nine for a while."

Ireland's Peter Lawrie and South Korea's Lee Jung-hwan carded 68s while Briton Tommy Fleetwood was also four-under after 17 holes.

Former U.S. PGA Championship winner Yang Yong-eun of South Korea posted a 70 in the sixth edition of the event that is also co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

"I'm quite used to the hot weather of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and also the chilly weather of Korea and the United States," Yang said.

"I know I need to overcome those difficulties...to perform well. However, it was not that easy out there today."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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