Cape Town - Louis Oosthuizen, the defending champion of the South African Open, has an opportunity to become the first player in 16 years to claim back-to-back SA Open titles at Randpark Golf Club on Sunday.
Oosthuizen signed for a bogey-free 64 on Randpark’s Firethorn course to lift him to 15 under par and one stroke clear of the field. Trevor Immelman is the last player to have won back-to-back SA Open titles in 2003 and 2004.
Oosthuizen made three birdies in his first four holes and one more on the par-four ninth hole to turn in 31 as his search for a second victory gained momentum on Saturday. Coming home, it was more of the same as three more birdies went down on his scorecard.
“I worked a little bit on the putting and I found something that I thought might get my rhythm a little better,” said Oosthuizen. “The speed and lines were pretty decent today on the greens so I was happy.”
While he refuses to get carried away, especially with the host of players chasing him down for that top spot in the final round, it’s not escaped Oosthuizen’s mind that a win here on Sunday could throw him in a special club of players who have won this title more than just once, let alone back-to-back.
“Another win here would mean a lot to me,” he said. “I mean, getting my name on that trophy again would really mean a lot to me. Defending any title is tough but If I could win here, being the defending champion and the Player-Host for the week, that would be special.”
A lot of work still lies ahead, though, because he has a slender lead over England’s Marcus Armitage.
Armitage carded the best round of the day, a nine-under 62, to get to 14-under and just a shot back of the defending champion. Hot on Armitage’s heels and two shots behind Oosthuizen is Jaco Ahlers, whose three-under-par 68 in round three pushed him up to 13-under for the week.
And talented 18-year-old amateur Jayden Schaper as well as Branden Grace are both just three shots off the lead.
198 - Louis Oosthuizen 65 69 64
199 - Marcus Armitage 65 72 62
200 - Jaco Ahlers 66 66 68
201 - Martin Rohwer 66 71 64, Jacques Blaauw 69 65 67, Branden Grace 64 70 67, Andy Sullivan 66 68 67, Jayden Schaper 65 67 69
202 - Min Woo Lee 66 69 67, JC Ritchie 63 72 67, George Coetzee 65 69 68, Jack Senior 67 66 69, Thriston Lawrence 67 65 70
203 - Marc Warren 70 68 65, Nino Bertasio 63 71 69, Keith Horne 69 65 69, Connor Syme 66 68 69, Peter Karmis 64 70 69, Hennie du Plessis 67 67 69, Tapio Pulkkanen 65 66 72
- Michael Vlismas Media