In the span of about 20 minutes Sunday, Oosthuizen posted a rare double-eagle 2 and Mickelson made an ugly triple-bogey 6 in a pair of seismic shifts atop the leaderboard during the front nine at Augusta National.
The leaders reached the turn with Oosthuizen at 9-under par and leading by two over Bubba Watson and Peter Hanson. Mickelson was another shot back, one ahead of Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington and Matt Kuchar.
Oosthuizen came into the day in third place, but that all changed when he holed out on No. 2 for the first albatross there and only the fourth in the history of the tournament. In the blink of an eye, he went from 7 to 10-under par and surpassed Mickelson and Hanson for the lead. He later gave up a shot with a bogey on No. 4, then went on to par the rest of the front nine.
Instead of taking a penalty shot and a drop, he tried to hack out right-handed. The ball barely moved the first time. On the second attempt, he shanked it into the clear, then he followed with a flop shot that failed to clear the bunker. He needed a terrific up and down from the sand to save triple-bogey 6 and fell to 5-under par. He made up one of the shots with a birdie on No. 8, set up after he hit driver off the deck to the side of the green.
The back nine on Sunday usually offers plenty of fireworks at Augusta National, but Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, got things going early.
He was standing in the fairway on No. 2, 253 yards out when he blasted a 4-iron onto the front, then watched it roll to the back of the green and into the hole. He raised both hands in the air, high-fived his caddie then jaunted down toward the cup. He plucked the ball out and tossed it into the crowd. Some souvenir.
The others to make albatross at Augusta: Bruce Delvin in 1967 on No. 8 and Jeff Maggert in 1994 on No. 13. Neither, however, was as famous as the one Gene Sarazen knocked in on No. 15 in 1935. It propelled him to a playoff and en route to a victory, and that shot is widely regarded as the one that put the Masters on the map.
Only a few minutes before Oosthuizen took to the course, in third place and two shots out of the lead, defending champion Charl Schwartzel, predicted good things for his fellow South African.
“I think he’s playing the best out of everyone up there,” Schwartzel said. “He’s hot right now. When he’s playing like this, he’s unstoppable.”
Oosthuizen wasn’t the only one attacking Augusta National from long range.
Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott aced the 16th hole. Van Pelt’s 1 was part of a round of 8-under 64, tying the record for the best closing round in tournament history. Scott shot 6-under 66 and finished at 4 under, tied with Justin Rose, who shot 4 under for the day.
All those rounds made it clear there were good scores to be had on the final day at Augusta; bad ones were available, too.
Tiger Woods struggled for the fourth straight day, shooting 2-over 74. He dropped a birdie on No. 18 and showed some mock excitement _ where’s that been all week? He finished at 5-over 293, matching his worst score here, the same one he posted his first year in the tournament _ back in 1995 when he was still an amateur.