Louis Oosthuizen holds slender lead but Marc Warren and Connor Syme are well placed

Home favourite Louis Oosthuizen fired a bogey-free 64 to boost his hopes of back-to-back South African Open titles in Johannesburg.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays his second shot into the 16th green. Picture: Warren Little/Getty ImagesLouis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays his second shot into the 16th green. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays his second shot into the 16th green. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images

The 2010 Open champion shot seven birdies during his third round yesterday to hold a one-shot advantage over England’s Marcus Armitage, who raced through the field with a stunning 62 taking him to 14 under.

Oosthuizen could become the first player to successfully defend this title since fellow South African Trevor Immelman 16 years ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 37-year-old, who is chasing a tenth European Tour victory, holed a 15-footer on the second, made another birdie on the third, and completed his hat-trick with the help of a delicate chip on the fourth.

Oosthuizen turned in 31 after a seven-foot putt at the ninth and added birdies at 11, 13 and 14 on the back nine.

Salford-born Armitage clearly has a taste for the Firethorn Course at Randpark Golf Club having carded a bogey-free 65 on day one.

Armitage, who regained his card at the Qualifying School having first made his way on to the European Tour in 2016, climbed 42 places with a round of two eagles, six birdies and only a single dropped shot.

The 32-year-old’s effort would have been a course record had preferred lies not been in place. “That’s why we play golf for those days, it was just magic,” said Armitage. “I holed a nice little wedge on three and it just went from there.”

Jaco Ahlers is one shot adrift of Armitage after making six birdies and three bogeys in a round of 68.

A five-strong group on 12 under contains England’s Andy Sullivan, who carded a round of 67, and a quartet of South Africans – Jayden Schaper, Branden Grace, Jacques Blaauw and Martin Rohwer.

Schaper was the overnight leader and the 18-year-old amateur stayed in the hunt with a two-under-par 69.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Scottish pair Marc Warren and Connor Syme are not out of the running yet either. Both are handily-placed on ten under after Warren, inset, carded six birdies in a 65 and Syme posted a 69 that contained five birdies but also three bogeys.

At the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, meanwhile, Russell Knox moved himself into contention with a second-round 65.

The 34-year-old hit six birdies and a bogey to move to within a shot of leaders Brendan Steele and Cameron Davis.

Steele birdied five of his last six holes – the run ruined by a double bogey on the sixth – while Davis made five gains and a bogey as both players recorded 66s during day two in Hawaii. The pair hold a one-shot lead over a group of nine players which, as well as Knox, includes major winner Keegan Bradley and overnight leader Collin Morikawa.

Bradley had five birdies in a 66 while fellow American Morikawa birdied the last two for a level-par 70.

Elsewhere, Wade Ormsby continued his fine run at the Hong Kong Open with a 4-under 66 to take a two-shot lead. Ormsby, who has led throughout, recorded an eagle, three birdies and a bogey in the third round for 13-under 197 overall.