Sandwich: So flawless for so long, Louis Oosthuizen started making his worst swings of the week as his two-shot lead evaporated in the British Open here.
With an hour left in a third round as undulating as the fairways at Royal St George’s, Oosthuizen found himself tied for the lead with Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth and facing a 10-foot par putt to avoid falling behind.
“I was a bit upset there,” the South African said, “but got myself quickly together.” Oosthuizen delivered a key par save on the 15th and an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 16th on Saturday. He finished with a 1-under 69, leaving him with a one-stroke lead and another good shot at ending his 11-year wait for a second major title.
“I will play my heart out tomorrow,” the 2010 Open champion said, “and see if I can lift the claret jug again.” Saturday ended pretty much as it had started, with Oosthuizen, Morikawa and Spieth occupying the top three spots, three shots separating them. Plenty happened in between.
Especially on the back nine and — most tellingly — on the 18th green, where Spieth missed a par putt from 2 feet for his second straight bogey to drop three shots back again.
Barely 45 minutes earlier, he was just off the green in two at the par-5 14th hole and seemingly on the brink of taking the lead. After making only par there and then bogeying Nos. 17 and 18, Spieth ran off for some putting practice after a round of 69.
It wasn’t long before Morikawa and Oosthuizen, both one-time major winners some 10 years apart, were walking onto the green at the last. Oosthuizen’s long putt over a hump from the right of the green settled close to the hole for his par, then Morikawa slid a 12-foot birdie putt just past the hole.
Morikawa, the PGA champion last year and in his first links test, settled for a 68 and trimmed Oosthuizen’s lead to one shot. He had been four shots behind after 10 holes and made a strong push at about the time Oosthuizen showed signs of fading.
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