Oosthuizen takes one-shot lead into final round of British Open

Oosthuizen takes one-shot lead into final round of British Open

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen leads the British Open after three rounds at Royal St. George's
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen leads the British Open after three rounds at Royal St. George's

SANDWICH: Louis Oosthuizen held off a charge from Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth to stay one shot in front at 12 under par heading into the final round of the British Open at Royal St. George's.

The South African carded a third-round of 69 on Saturday to stay a stroke ahead of tournament debutant Morikawa and three in front of 2017 Open champion Spieth.

Oosthuizen is aiming to lift the Claret Jug for a second time on Sunday following a 2010 victory at St Andrews -- the lone major title of his career.

However, he has finished second in six majors since then, including at the US PGA Championship and US Open in the past two months.

"Finishing second isn't great, so I will play my heart out tomorrow and see if I can lift the Claret Jug again," said Oosthuizen.

Resuming on 11 under par in pristine conditions, the world number 13 saw birdie putts at the first two holes shave the cup in a run of six straight pars.

But he birdied the par-five seventh and then picked up another shot at the ninth.

However, after dropping just one shot in his opening two rounds, bogeys at 11 and 13 allowed Morikawa and Spieth to briefly take a share of the lead.

Oosthuizen regained his composure and his precise putting for birdie at the par-three 16th to retake the lead outright to huge cheers with 32,000 fans in attendance at Sandwich on England's south-east coast.

"There's lots of golf left, but it was so great with all the fans there. It felt like it was a Sunday afternoon really when I made the putt and I was taking the lead," added Oosthuizen.

Morikawa will again be Oosthuizen's partner in the final group after the young American recovered from a poor start to shoot a 68.

The 24-year-old dropped two shots in his first six holes, but made the turn in level par for his round.

Consecutive birdies at 13 and 14 left Morikawa well-placed to add a second major title to his 2020 US PGA crown.

"It's a position you want to be in...I love it, so I really look forward to tomorrow," said Morikawa.

Spieth's bid for a second Open Championship faltered late on as he bogeyed both the last two holes.

The American had got off to a flier with birdies at the second, fourth, sixth and 10th to move to 11 under.

But, just as in his second round, when he blamed being hungry for a poor finish, the three-time major winner struggled coming home.

The expected push from a stellar cast of former major champions further down the leaderboard never materialised, although recent US Open winner Jon Rahm hauled himself into contention with a 68 to move to seven under.

World number one Dustin Johnson fell back to four under with four-time major champion Brooks Koepka on three under.

By contrast, the unheralded pair of Canada's Corey Connors and America's Scottie Scheffler are best positioned to make a move on eight under.

Earlier, Rory McIlroy's hopes of a fifth major title faded on the back nine after an electrifying start from the Northern Irishman.

The biggest galleries of the tournament so far saw McIlroy make five birdies on the front nine.

But a combination of wild driving off the tee and sloppy putting saw McIlroy drop shots at the 11th, 13th and 15th to fall back to one under.

"Sort of a tale of two nines," McIlroy said.

"The back nine played tough. They're sort of tucking the pins away. They've stretched the golf course out to as long as it can play."

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