Louis Oosthuizen noticed his lead lower to only one shot heading into the ultimate day on the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s, however the 38-year-old South African stays the bookies’ favorite to seize a second Claret Jug.
What’s historically known as ‘Transferring Day’ proved something however for the leaders, with the highest three on the half-way stage remaining as they have been after an attritional afternoon on the Kent hyperlinks, with the R&A organising the course to stop the profitable rating being too far underneath par.
Oosthuizen, winner in 2010, held a two-stroke benefit after setting a record-breaking tempo by means of 36 holes, but it surely briefly vanished on Saturday, when Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa closed in to make it a three-way tie earlier than Oosthuizen birdied 17 and edged forward at 12 underneath par.
“I used to be undoubtedly not swinging freely,” Oosthuizen mentioned after signing for a one-under-par 69, which included two bogeys and three birdies. “I used to be a bit of in every single place with my iron photographs, however I felt like I saved the spherical collectively on the finish there. Ending second isn’t so nice, so I’ll play my coronary heart out and see if I can raise the Claret Jug once more.”
Morikawa is Oosthuizen’s closest challenger at 11 underneath after Spieth fell away with a back-to-back bogey end that dropped him to 9 underneath. American Scottie Scheffler and Canada’s Corey Conners are 4 photographs off the lead at eight underneath par.
Oosthuizen confirmed no indicators of nerves on the entrance 9 as he carded seven pars and birdied seven and 9 to succeed in 13 underneath. On the identical time Morikawa was initially trending within the flawed route, scrambling to save lots of par from a bunker on the opening gap and persevering with his nervy begin with a bogey after once more discovering the sand on the second. The 24-year-old dropped to seven underneath par, 4 strokes adrift of Oosthuizen, with a bogey at 5 earlier than successive birdies at seven and eight and once more on 13 and 14 noticed him chisel out a gritty 68.
“I don’t have a lot expertise on hyperlinks golf and just about all of the highlights in my head are from this week,” mentioned Morikawa. “Fortunately there are fairly a number of. Hopefully we are able to simply use that momentum from the primary three days and convey it into the final spherical. It’s going to be a gruelling 18, however I stay up for it.”
Low scores have been carded when the wind dropped on Friday and organisers responded by organising harder pin positions on day three on the Kent hyperlinks observe. Jon Rahm mentioned they “could have been a number of the hardest pin positions I’ve ever seen” after he shot a two-under 68 to maneuver to seven underneath and inside 5 of the lead. “You can’t inform on TV, however the flags are nearly all the time on high of a bit of hill,” mentioned the US Open champion. “It’s a approach of defending the golf course.”
Spieth’s putter was proving as scorching because the late afternoon sunshine when he sank two birdies in his opening 4 holes and recovered from a bogey at 5 with two extra birdies to take a share of the lead for the primary time. Even when he discovered bother off the tee the three-time main winner was at his scrambling finest, making a variety of artistic photographs from the tough and across the fringe of the inexperienced as he hit the flip in three-under 32.
The American birdied the tenth to succeed in 12 underneath. however that was cancelled out on the par-three eleventh, although he regained a share of high spot as Oosthuizen stuttered on the again 9. A string of pars appeared to be maintaining Spieth within the hunt, however he bogeyed the seventeenth after which missed a two-footer for par on the final to depart himself work to do if he’s to finish his main drought on Sunday.
Additional down the leaderboard, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre posted the perfect spherical of the day, a five-under 65 that included a birdie-birdie end as he reached 4 underneath for the week. He’s one behind Eire’s defending champion Shane Lowry and main English pair Paul Casey and Andy Sullivan, who all sit at 5 underneath par. Until both of the latter two gamers breaks the course report, and others fall away, the host nation’s 52-year look ahead to an Englishman to raise the Claret Jug on residence soil seems to be more likely to proceed.
For the very newest scores from St George’s, go to www.theopen.com/leaderboard