Saturday 17 July 2021 8:56 pm

Louis Oosthuizen takes one-shot lead into final round of the Open as Collin Morikawa keeps up chase

Louis Oosthuizen stayed on course for a wire-to-wire victory at the Open Championship, despite Collin Morikawa cutting his lead.

Oosthuizen, who won the Claret Jug in 2010, carded a third round of 69 to move to 12 under par and lead The Open by one shot from Morikawa.

The South African played the first two rounds in 11 under but admitted to struggling, especially on the back nine.

“I was definitely not swinging it freely today. I was all over the place with iron shots and it felt like I kept it together at the end there,” Oosthuizen told Sky Sports.

“The R&A [organisers of The Open] weren’t happy with the low scoring and they put some pins out there which were questionable.

“I’m very excited, it is a great position. I need to play well tomorrow and see if I can get rid of those loose swings.”

If Oosthuizen wins, he would be the first wire-to-wire winner since Rory McIlroy in 2014.

Morikawa, who is making his Open debut, kept up the pressure on Oosthuizen with a two-under-par round of 68 to move to 11 under.

Jordan Spieth, the 2017 Open champion, is outright third, a further two shots adrift, after a 69.

US Open champion Jon Rahm moved into a tie for sixth with a 68 that left him seven under par, one behind American Scottie Scheffler and Canadian Corey Conners.

How the third round of the Open unfolded

On a day when a combination of tough pin positions and a drying course made scoring difficult, Spieth birdied the second and fourth and recovered from a dropped shot on the fifth with further gains on the sixth and seventh to move into a share of the lead.

That proved shortlived, however, as Oosthuizen ended a run of six straight pars by also two-putting the par-five seventh for birdie before another gain on the ninth restored his overnight advantage.

At this point Morikawa was still four shots off the pace despite recovering from two early bogeys with birdies on the seventh and eighth, but as Oosthuizen and Spieth faltered, Morikawa birdied the 13th and 14th to make it a three-way tie.

Oosthuizen edged back in front with a birdie on the 16th and parred the final two holes to edge closer to an overdue second major title. The 38-year-old took his tally of near misses to six by finishing second in both the US PGA and US Open this season.

Rahm keeps hopes alive with late flurry

Rahm, who birdied the last two holes at Torrey Pines last month to pip Oosthuizen to the US Open title, agreed with the leader’s assessment of the pin positions, despite playing his final seven holes in three under to keep his hopes alive.

“Because of the weather conditions it’s easy to think it could have been a little bit better, but the pin locations were no joke,” the Spaniard said.

“I don’t know if on TV you could appreciate it, but those are some of hardest pin locations collectively I’ve ever seen.”

Paul Casey and Andy Sullivan headed the fading English challenge on five under, with defending champion Shane Lowry on the same score following two late birdies in his 69.

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre was four under after completing a 65 in brilliant fashion with a birdie on the 18th, the left-hander holing from 60 feet from a similar location to where Sandy Lyle almost came to grief on the 72nd hole of his title win in 1985.