JOHANNESBURG: Louis Oosthuizen took a three-shot third-round lead in the EPGA South African Open Saturday as he seeks to become the sixth golfer to win the event and the British Open.
South Africans Ernie Els, Bobby Locke and Gary Player, Swede Henrik Stenson and New Zealander Bob Charles have won the two oldest national championships in the world.
Oosthuizen carded a four-under-par 67 for a 199 total at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg while overnight leader and fellow South African Charl Schwartzel slumped to a one-over 72.
Former Masters champion Schwartzel shares second place on 202 with Zambian Madalitso Muthiya (71) and Matt Wallace (68), hoping to become the fourth English winner in five seasons.
A group of eight are three strokes further back going into the final round with four-time major winner Els among them after a 68.
“It was a tough round but I played well,” said Oosthuizen, whose world ranking of 36 is the highest in the field.
“I was left off the tee with a few bad drives but fixed that problem during the inward half of my round.
“My putting gave me a lot of pleasure today. I could not make anything yesterday, but today the makeable ones went in.
“What I need tomorrow is 18 more holes of good golf, taking one shot at a time,” added the eight-time European Tour winner.
Schwartzel, twice runner-up in the South African Open, never recovered from bogeys on the first and third holes and had to wait until the 12th for his only birdie.
A seesaw round for Muthiya included five birdies, a bogey and two double bogeys as he eyes becoming the first Zambian winner on the European Tour.
Wallace, the second highest ranked challenger at Randpark, was another to experience a mixed round with six birdies and three back-nine bogeys.
However, he is the form golfer among the contenders with four European Tour titles since May last year and could pose the greatest threat to Oosthuizen.
Apart from 1.095 million euros in prize money, three 2019 British Open places are up for grabs Sunday.