The Latest: Oosthuizen takes 1-shot lead into Sunday at Open
SANDWICH, England (AP) — The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
Louis Oosthuizen is the 54-hole leader of the British Open after hanging on over the back nine at Royal St. George’s.
Oosthuizen made an 8-foot birdie on the 16th hole and a long two-putt par on the closing hole for a 69. That gives him a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa going into the final round.
Jordan Spieth was tied for the lead until he hit a poor wedge into the 17th for bogey and then shockingly missed a 2-foot par putt on the 18th. He had to settle for a 69 and now is three shots behind.
Oosthuizen has been runner-up in the last two majors and will be trying to win his first major since the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews.
Morikawa was four shots behind when he walked off the 10th green. That’s right when Oosthuizen started getting scrappy with his swing. He dropped shots on the 11th and 13th holes. He failed to birdie the par-5 14th. But he made a great par save on the 15th.
Morikawa started poorly with two bogeys in the opening five holes. He was bogey-free the rest of the way and shot 68.
Eight players are separated by five shots. That includes U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm. He made a 15-foot par putt on the last hole for a 68 and was five behind.
Another Canadian is in the mix at a major. This time it’s Corey Conners, who quietly put together one of better rounds in the British Open. He opened with nine straight pars. Then, he ran off four birdies over the next five holes and closed with four pars.
That’s a 66, and it puts Conners at 8-under 202. That left him four shots behind Louis Oosthuizen, who is coming off only his second bogey of the tournament at the par-3 11th.
How much of a chance Conners has on Sunday depends on Oosthuizen over the final seven holes.
Mackenzie Hughes was challenging for the lead early on the back nine at Torrey Pines last month in the U.S. Open until his tee shot got stuck in a tree on the 11th hole. Hughes was 1 under for his round at Royal St. George’s and 6 under with two holes to play.
Saturday is moving day at the British Open, and Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are moving in the wrong direction.
Johnson started out four shots behind Louis Oosthuizen, made two superb par saves to start his round and then it began to unravel. Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, has yet to make a birdie and was 4 over through 10 holes. He now is 10 shots behind.
Koepka had three bogeys in his opening five holes before making a birdie. He just added another birdie on the 14th, but is nine shots behind.
Oosthuizen has pulled two shots ahead. Briefly tied by Jordan Spieth, the South African had a two-putt birdie on the par-5 seventh and rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the ninth. He has made only one bogey in 45 holes at Royal St. George’s.
Jordan Spieth is tied for the lead as he chases another claret jug in the British Open.
The three-time major champion has four birdies through seven holes, the only blemish coming on a three-putt bogey from some 70 feet on the the par-5 fifth. That put Spieth at 11-under, tied with Louis Oosthuizen.
Spieth won the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017.
Oosthuizen has been solid, though not spectacular. He has all pars through six holes, twice having to get up-and-down for tough saves.
Collin Morikawa has two bogeys, no birdies and has fallen four shots back.
Dylan Frittelli has back-to-back birdies and is at 9 under. He is playing with Spieth, his former teammate at the University of Texas when the Longhorns won the national title at Riviera. Frittelli had the winning shot that day with a birdie on the last hole to win his match.
Collin Morikawa was close to perfect to get into the final group on the weekend at the British Open. The start of his third round as been anything but that.
Morikawa had to save par from a pot bunker he found from the first fairway. And then he ran into trouble on the second. He tugged his tee shot into a bunker and had to play out to the fairway. He misjudged the wind and went over the back of the green. He misread the putt and had to make a 7-footer just to save bogey.
Then, he had to save par from well short of the third green. He has yet to have a birdie chance.
Louis Oosthuizen has been the model of steady, with two good birdie chances that he missed and a solid par save on the 245-yard third hole. He was one shot ahead of Jordan Spieth, who has two birdies on the opening four holes.
Dustin Johnson dropped a shot on the fourth when his approach hit a spectator in the lower back on the left side of the green, the ball bouncing all the way off the right side. He didn’t get that up-and-down and fell five shots behind.
3:15 p.m. Rory McIlroy finally has a round in the 60s at Royal St. George’s, but just barely. And it wasn’t nearly enough for him to have a final round with any consequences.
McIlroy made five birdies on the front nine and no birdies on the back nine at the British Open. That added to a 69. It was only his second sub-70 score in 13 rounds in the majors this year.
McIlroy says it was a tale of two nines. He says he needs to turn the good nine-hole stretches into 18-hole stretches, and then 72-hole stretches. McIlroy says it’s getting there. But he’ll have to wait until April for his next chance to end his long major drought that dates to 2014.
As for his flinging his iron after a poor tee shot on the 14th? McIlroy described that as more of a little toss that a throw.
The leaders were about a half-hour away from starting, with Louis Oosthuizen at 11 under and a two-shot lead. The only serious move is Cameron Smith at 2 under through six holes, putting him at 6-under par.
Robert MacIntyre of Scotland has the 12th round at 65 or lower in the British Open this week at Royal St. George’s.
MacIntyre holed a shot of some 80 feet from a swale to the left of the 18th green. That put him at 4-under 206 for the championship. If nothing else, it guarantees a wee bit more sleep on Sunday because of a later tee time.
There have been nine rounds of 65 and three rounds of 64 this week. There were 10 rounds of 65 or lower in the previous 14 times the Open came to Royal St. George’s.
Talor Gooch and Antoine Rozner each had a 67. Those are the only rounds under par to have been completed.
Rory McIlroy is 2 under through 14 holes with five birdies on his card and frustration mounting. McIlroy used an iron off the tee at the par-5 14th hole. It still went left and he pointed with his club to indicate to the gallery, before flinging the club in disgust. He made par.
Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are going in opposite directions at the British Open.
Thomas three-putted from about 8 feet for a double bogey at the par-3 third hole and has dropped to 1 over.
McIlroy made five birdies by the turn and has the lowest front nine of the third round so far — 31. He is 4 under for the tournament.
Lin Yuxin is one of two amateurs to make the cut, along with Matthias Schmid of Germany, and will vie for the silver medal at Royal St. George’s. Lin went out first in the third round and shot 4-over 74 to be on 5 over.
Rory McIlroy has been finishing his rounds well at the British Open. Now he has started one well, too.
McIlroy opened his third round at Royal St. George’s by rolling in a 10-foot putt for birdie at No. 1 and moved to 1 under overall. That earned the biggest roar so far on a sunny morning at the links off Sandwich Bay.
Bryson DeChambeau opened his third round with eight straight pars. He remained at 1 over for the tournament.
Both players are a long way off the lead held by Louis Oosthuizen at 11-under 129. That’s a 36-hole record at the British Open.
Oosthuizen is out at 3.55 p.m. local time with Collin Morikawa.
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