Oosthuizen has slim lead for Open’s final round

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So flawless for thus lengthy, Louis Oosthuizen began making his worst swings of the week as his two-shot lead evaporated within the British Open on Saturday.

With an hour left in a 3rd spherical as undulating because the fairways at Royal St. George’s, Oosthuizen discovered himself tied for the lead with Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth and dealing with a 10-foot par putt to keep away from falling behind.

“I used to be a bit upset there,” the South African mentioned, “however acquired myself rapidly collectively.”

Oosthuizen delivered a key par save on the fifteenth and an eight-foot birdie on the par-three sixteenth. He completed with a one-under 69, leaving him with a one-stroke lead and one other good shot at ending his 11-year anticipate a second main title.

“I’ll play my coronary heart out tomorrow,” the 2010 Open champion mentioned, “and see if I can carry the claret jug once more.”

Saturday ended just about because it had began, with Oosthuizen, Morikawa and Spieth occupying the highest three spots, three photographs separating them.

Lots occurred in between.

Particularly on the again 9 and — most tellingly — on the 18th inexperienced, the place Spieth missed a par putt from two toes for his second straight bogey to drop three photographs again once more.

Barely 45 minutes earlier, he was simply off the inexperienced on the par-five 14th gap in two and seemingly getting ready to taking the lead.

After making solely par there after which bogeying Nos. 17 and 18, Spieth ran off for some placing observe after a spherical of 69. The R&A mentioned he declined all media requests.

It wasn’t lengthy earlier than Morikawa and Oosthuizen, each one-time main winners some 10 years aside, had been strolling onto the inexperienced on the final. Oosthuizen’s lengthy putt over a hump from the proper of inexperienced settled near the outlet for his par, then Morikawa slid a 12-foot birdie putt simply previous the outlet.

Morikawa, the PGA champion final yr and in his first hyperlinks check, settled for a 68 and trimmed Oosthuizen’s result in one shot. He had been 4 photographs behind after 10 holes and made a powerful push at concerning the time Oosthuizen confirmed indicators of fading.

“I haven’t got a lot expertise on hyperlinks golf, and just about all of the highlights in my head are from this week,” he mentioned. “Fortunately there may be fairly a number of. Hopefully we will simply use that momentum from the primary three days and simply deliver it into the final 18.”

Oosthuizen, a runner-up within the final two majors, was at 12-under 198.

The pin positions — quite than the climate — proved to be the best protection at Royal St. George’s, with the wind not getting above 10 mph and a cloudless sky with shiny sunshine trying positive to deliver one other day of low scoring.

Nevertheless, pins had been tucked away, typically close to slopes, whereas the firmer fairways introduced the deep tough and pot bunkers into play.

“These are a few of hardest pin areas collectively I’ve ever seen,” mentioned No. 2-ranked Jon Rahm, who shot 68 and is in rivalry, 5 photographs off the lead.

A variety of different large names had been unable to launch a problem.

High-ranked Dustin Johnson began 4 photographs off the lead however plunged out of rivalry by making 5 bogeys in his opening 11 holes. Two late birdies might give him solely a 73, leaving him eight photographs behind.

Brooks Koepka, a four-time main champion, was a shot additional again after managing a spherical of solely 72.

Rory McIlroy began a lot additional again however reached the flip at 4 underneath for the championship after making 5 birdies. The again 9 was one other story and McIlroy threw an iron to the bottom — he known as it a “little toss” — throughout a run of three bogeys in 5 holes on his strategy to taking pictures 69, his first spherical within the 60s at Royal St. George’s.

It left him on solely one-under and with no likelihood of a second claret jug.

As a substitute, Corey Conners (66) and Scottie Scheffler (69) moved into rivalry at 8 underneath whereas Rahm — trying so as to add the British Open to his U.S. Open from final month — was 7 underneath alongside MacKenzie Hughes and Dylan Frittelli.

Marcel Siem, who certified from the second-tier Problem Tour in Europe solely final week, rebounded from an 8 after going out-of-bounds on the par-5 14th with two birdies in his ultimate three holes. He was in a three-way tie for ninth place, six off the lead.

All of them are chasing Oosthuizen, who gained the Open in 2010 and has rung up a profession Grand Slam of runner-up finishes since then. That features the U.S. Open final month, when he was main with two holes to play till Rahm’s birdie-birdie end. He additionally was runner-up within the PGA Championship to Phil Mickelson.

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