South Africa's on quite a roll.
Coming off the rousing success of being the first African nation to host soccer's World Cup, the country made another splash in the British Open when Louis Oosthuizen surged to the lead early in the second round Friday.
The 27-year-old from Mossel Bay shot a 7-under 65 in the opening round, despite playing in the tougher afternoon conditions. He wound up two strokes off the pace set by Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who tied the major-championship record with a 63.
Bundled up in rain gear on a morning that epitomized the ever-changing conditions at St. Andrews, Oosthuizen made his move for the top before McIlroy even arrived at the Old Course for his afternoon tee time. The South African started with four straight pars, then strung together three birdies in a row beginning at the par-5 fifth.
There was nothing to indicate Oosthuizen might contend in the third major of the year. He missed the cut at both the Masters and the U.S. Open, and he failed to make it to the weekend at the Scottish Open last weekend.
Now, it looks as though he'll make the cut at the British Open for the first time in four appearances.
"It was really a matter of getting my confidence up," said Oosthuizen, who got his first win on the European Tour earlier this year. "It's just a great golf course. I love it."
Oosthuizen's only blemish Thursday came on No. 17, the famed "Road Hole," where he missed the green with his second shot and three-putted for bogey.
In a cruel tease, the early starters arrived at the course to a blue sky that stretched over St. Andrews Bay. Within an hour, clouds moved and it was raining harder than it ever did in the opening round.
McIlroy was warm and dry in his hotel, not teeing off in the second round until 1:31 p.m. local time.
In what has become an annual occurrence for this tournament, a senior golfer claimed a spot on the leaderboard. This time, it was 50-year-old Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 Open champion.
Calcavecchia played the front nine in 34, and two straight birdies early on the homeward side pushed his score to 6 under. That left him tied for fourth with a group that included a huge surprise from the first round, 1995 winner John Daly.
The American golfer, whose career has been dogged by all sorts of personal problems, opened with a 66 that could've been even better. Four putts lipped out or caught the edge of the cup without dropping.
Ricky Barnes of the United States made an eagle at No. 5 to reach 7 under, all alone in third.
The conditions Friday were foreign to McIlroy, who was in the morning wave that played the opening round in amazingly calm conditions. He became just the 22nd player to shoot 63 in a major championship and the first to do it in this event since 1993.
Tiger Woods, trying to win his third straight Open at St. Andrews, opened with a 67 and was set to play in the afternoon. Phil Mickelson, who made only one birdie in his opening round of 73, had a morning tee time and hopes to get back into the mix — or at least to avoid going home.