On a day when many thought he might come back to the field, Louis Oosthuzien went out and shot 3 under par on the Old Course and maintained his lead at the 139th British Open.
The five-stroke lead he began the day with now is just four over the hard-charging Paul Casey. But the 27-year-old South African now has a chance to follow in the footsteps of countrymen like Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Ernie Els.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer is alone in third, but he is a distant seven strokes behind Oosthuizen, who picked up his first European Tour victory earlier this year. England’s Lee Westwood, Alejandro Canizares of Spain and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson are tied for fourth, eight strokes off the pace.
Sunday’s tee times begin at 7:26 a.m. local time (2:26 a.m. ET). The final group of Oosthuizen and Casey will tee off at 2:05 p.m. (9:05 a.m. ET)
Alejandro Canizares and amateur Jin Jeong are hoping to become the first player to win the British Open in his debut since Ben Curtis in 2003 and the 10th overall. Four players have performed the feat at St. Andrews:
Willie Park, Prestwick, 1860
Tom Kidd, St Andrews, 1873
Mungo Park, Musselburgh, 1874
Jock Hutchison, St Andrews, 1921
Denny Shute, St Andrews, 1933
Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953
Tony Lema, St Andrews, 1964
Tom Watson, Carnoustie, 1975
Ben Curtis, Royal St. George’s, 2003
Jin Jeong only got about four hours sleep last night. But not because he was nervous, mind you.
Actually, Jeong was one of the 30 players on the course when play was halted at 9:45 p.m. local time who had to come back for a 6:30 a.m. start today. And maybe it was a good thing he didn’t have much time to ponder his position at the midway point of the 139th British Open.
Turns out the 20-year-old Korean amateur, who now makes his home in Melbourne, Australia, was one of just three players in the afternoon wave on Friday who ended up shooting under par. His round of 2 under left him at 6 under for the tournament and two strokes off the lead.
So Jeong, who qualified to play at the Old Course when he won the British Amateur last month, went out in the third-to-last group on Saturday with Alejandro Canizares. He bogeyed the fourth hole but just holed a lengthy eagle putt at the fifth hole to move to 7 under and four strokes off Louis Oosthuizen’s lead. – Helen Ross
Louis Oosthuizen, who led by five strokes overnight, uddenly has some company at the top of the leaderboard.
The 27-year-old South African lipped out a short par putt on the first hole to drop to 11 under just as several others started making a move. Paul Casey, for example, has joined Henrik Stenson at 8 under after birdies at the second and third holes.
Alejandro Canizares and Robert Karlsson are close behind at 7 under after birdies at Nos. 4 and 7, respectively.
Alejandro Canizares, who lost a playoff to countryman Miguel Angel Jimenez two weeks ago in France, is contending for a much bigger prize this week.
The 27-year-old Spaniard was one of the 30 players who had to return to complete their second rounds on Saturday morning. He was up at 4:15 a.m. local time and on the range 75 minutes later.
Once play began at 6:30 a.m., Canizares began making pars, which will never hurt you in a major championship. He closed out his round of 71 with a birdie at the 18th hole that moved him to 6 under for the tournament and into a tie for third.
“It was a very difficult day yesterday – very cold towards the end,” Canizares said. “It was hard to even feel the club in the hands. It was much better this morning. … Luckily I made a few putts and birdied the last. It was a nice way to finish.
“It’s a great feeling to be so high up on the leaderboard. I came here with no expectations, but luckily I’m up there so I’ll see what happens over the weekend.”
Canizares, who is six behind leader Louis Oosthuizen, will play in Saturday’s third-to-last group at 4:20 p.m. (11:20 a.m. ET) with surprising amateur Jin Jeong. – Helen Ross
Don’t look now, but only five players on the Old Course right now are under par for the day. And none of those are more than 1 under, either.
Alejandro Canizares birdied his second hole and is 1 under through four and 6 under for the tournament. Korean amateur Jin Jeong continues to impress at 1 under through six holes, Darren Clarke is through four, Ian Poulter is making the turn and Matt Kuchar is through five holes.