Louis Oosthuizen proved once again that he should never be underestimated, as even with a subpar performance for many holes on day three he was still able to extend his overall lead by one stroke.
It was a contrasting round for the South African at Royal St George’s, who did not reach the same heights of his first two, allowing America duo Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa to take advantage and close the gap.
Uncharacteristically, the 2010 champion appeared stressed on the third day, as he could not amass another extensive lead like he had done in the earlier stages of the Championship. After starting the round with six successive pars, Oosthuizen could not carry the momentum and it invited the hungry chasing pack to test his composure.
For the first time in this Championship, it seemed that Oosthuizen might not run away with the much-coveted Claret Jug. it will all come down to the fourth and final day and every shot will be crucial.
Questions were always asked of those chasing Oosthuizen’s fantastic start at the Kent course, with 2017 winner Spieth and Morikawa also having impressive starts over the first couple of days. As Oosthuizen began to falter, the Americans sensed opportunity but neither could take it as the 38-year-old’s quality shone through when he needed it most.
He was also helped by Spieth, who had a very disappointing back nine, which was topped off by a devastating finish on the 18th, where he missed his birdie and par putt, dropping him down to nine-under par overall.
Morikawa ended the day three behind the South African, leaving him with an extremely difficult task on the final day. He had a great opportunity on the 18th to wrap-up day three as joint clubhouse leader, but his first putt missed to the left and he could only settle for par.
While he will be frustrated for not taking his chance, he will have seen signs that Oosthuizen can slip-up and he will need to be at his best if he is to better him and lift the Claret Jug on Sunday.
Dylan Fritelli did not have the round he was hoping for after achieving seven-under par across the first two rounds. Marcel Siem also finished with an even par, maintaining his overall score at six-under par. The fan-favourite had some setbacks but he will be pleased that he was able to recover from his mistakes.
Spaniard John Rahm had an impressive round and played some excellent shots throughout the day as he ended with two-under par, taking his overall score to seven under. Another American who did not have the most fruitful rounds was Dustin Johnson. He finished the day three-over par and his chances of lifting the Claret Jug are becoming even slimmer.