St Andrews: Louis Oosthuizen’s overnight five-shot lead was there to be shot at on Saturday as sunny, breezy conditions saw the red, below par-numbers pile up on the British Open scoreboards in Saturday’s third round.
The 27-year-old South African, on 12 under, was the last of 77 players to tee off in the third round and was looking to defend the biggest halfway lead in the Open since American Bobby Clampett ripped up the first two rounds at Troon in 1982.
He led overnight from playing partner Mark Calcavecchia, but Sweden’s Henrik Stenson closed the gap to four when an outrageous eagle two at the par-four 13th put him six under for the day and eight under overall.
Tiger Woods, warmly received by the galleries as he walked down the first with playing partner and close friend Darren Clarke, endured a frustrating start. His birdie attempt at the first lipped out and he slammed his club into the Old Course turf after his second on the second went astray.
He parred the first four holes before a bogey at the fifth pegged him back to three under.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia was one of the main movers with a chipped-in eagle three at the par five fifth helping him to an outward 33 and five under overall.
The day’s best round so far went to Robert Rock, the Englishman plundering four birdies and an eagle as he fired a five-under 67.
That was one better than compatriot Ross Fisher who looked set to post a half decent clubhouse mark until he ballooned his second at the 17th hole onto the road and hurtled out of bounds.
He double bogeyed but birdied the 18th for a 68 that left him on three under and nine behind Oosthuizen.
Ten groups had to return to the course at 0530GMT (6:30 a.m. BST) to resume their round after bruising winds curtailed play on Friday.
South Korean Jin Jeong joined the group on six under with a birdie at the 18th to confirm him as the only amateur to survive the halfway cut and ensure he wins the Silver Medal as long as he completes the 72 holes.