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As Jon Rahm was experiencing winning a major championship for the first time, Louis Oosthuizen was all too familiar with the feeling that had once again come across him Sunday evening at Torrey Pines.
For the sixth time, Oosthuizen was a major bridesmaid.
While Oosthuizen already has a major, winning the Claret Jug back in 2010, he has now finished runner-up in a major championship on a half-dozen occasions after Sunday’s solo second to Rahm at the 121st U.S. Open. Oosthuizen accomplished golf’s Runner-up Grand Slam four years ago at the PGA Championship, and he now has two seconds at both the PGA and U.S. Open, also finishing right behind Phil Mickelson last month at Kiawah.
“I didn’t win it. I’m second again,” Oosthuizen said Sunday. “No, look, it’s frustrating. It’s disappointing. I’m playing good golf, but winning a major championship is not just going to happen. You need to go out and play good golf. I played good today, but I didn’t play good enough.”
Oosthuizen was one of three co-leaders after 54 holes at Torrey Pines and earned himself a place in the final pairing alongside Mackenzie Hughes. With a host of stars in the mix, including Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau, Oosthuizen led by two shots when he sunk a long birdie putt on the 10th hole.
But he missed a short par save at the next, made a sloppy par from the middle of the fairway at the par-5 13th and drove it in the canyon left of the 17th fairway before making bogey.
“I definitely left a few putts or shots out there,” said Oosthuizen, whose two water balls on the 13th hole over the weekend at Kiawah led to his undoing at the PGA. “I took the tee shot on at 17, and I knew it was a crucial hole for me to take it on and give myself a birdie opportunity. I didn’t pull it off, but standing on that tee again, I’ll probably do the same thing, taking a driver and taking the shot on.
“I feel like I had my shots, I went for it, and that’s what you have to do to win majors. Sometimes it goes your way, and other times it doesn’t.”
Oosthuizen still hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since that major breakthrough at St. Andrews, a stretch that now spans 184 starts and includes 11 second-place finishes. But his closing birdie at Torrey did secure him a third top-3 finish in his past four majors.
And consider the players whom Oosthuizen has now finished runner-up to in majors: Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson and Rahm.
“All in all,” he said. “I thought that I fought really well to stay in it and just fell short again.”