Saturday, July 17

THE OPEN: Will Louis Oosthuizen Finish the Job at Royal St. George's?

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LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN WILL TAKE A ONE-SHOT lead into the final round of the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.

Oosthuizen shot a 69 in the third round and is 12 under for the tournament. 2020 PGA champion Collin Morikawa is one back after a 68. (This is Morikawa's first Open.) On Sunday he and Oosthuizen will again play in the final pairing.

Jordan Spieth is three off the pace after a 69 on Saturday. The 2017 Open champion had a disappointing bogey-bogey finish.

The 2010 Open champion (St. Andrews), Oosthuizen has six seconds in majors. Can the 54-hole leader stay at the top of the leaderboard and see his name engraved on the Claret Jug a second time?

In an article at GolfDigest.com, Joel Beall offered a reason why Louis has struggled to close out majors: driving.

As part of the case, Beall cited driving statistics in the late stages of the two most recent majors, the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, where Oosthuizen faded after leading.

Beall wrote:

The crazy thing is, the driver is normally not Oosthuizen’s problem, as Louis annually ranked inside the top 40 in SG/off-the-tee for most of the previous decade. Moreover, as NBC Sports on-course reporter Notah Bogey III mentioned on Friday’s broadcast, Oosthuizen is driving the ball beautifully at Royal St George’s, hitting more than 80 percent of his fairways through two days.

Of course, one thing we can’t quantify is what type of collateral damage comes from Torrey Pines, Kiawah and beyond.

Driving will certainly be crucial for all contenders on Sunday. The wind will blow. The pressure will build. And someone with nothing to lose might get red hot.

But this is the time for 38-year-old Louis Oosthuizen. If not now, when?

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