The 149th British Open is set up for a gripping finale on Sunday with Louis Oosthuizen, Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth separated by just three shots.
Oosthuizen and Speith are both previous winners of the Claret Jug, but Morikawa has confirmed his status as one of golf’s rising stars on his first Open Championship appearance through 54 holes.
World number two Jon Rahm is also not out of contention, five shots off the lead, while Corey Connors and Scottie Scheffler could continue the tradition of surprise winners at Royal St George’s.
AFP Sport looks at five of the leading contenders:
Louis Oosthuizen (-12)
Oosthuizen can join a small band of ‘wire-to-wire’ Open Championship winners should he maintain the lead he has held after every round this week.
Saturday afternoon saw the first chinks in the South African’s armour as after just one bogey in his first 46 holes, he had two in three at the 11th and 13th.
The world number 13 also needed to hole a tricky putt to save par at the 15th after a wayward approach but steadied himself, and his charge for a second major, with a birdie at 16 to move into the outright lead once more.
After storming to victory at the British Open at St Andrews 11 years ago, Oosthuizen has had to endure six second-placed finishes at majors and is desperate to “go one better” come Sunday.
Collin Morikawa (-11)– The cancellation of last year’s Open Championship meant that Morikawa is making his first appearance at golf’s oldest major, not that it has shown in his first three rounds.
After a nervy start to his third round, Morikawa bounced back to play the final 12 holes in four under par and briefly take a share of the lead before Oosthuizen sunk his putt on 16.
The two will go out together again in the final pairing, but the 24-year-old said he “loves” the pressure of the big stage and his record backs it up.
In just seven previous major appearances, Morikawa has three top-10 finishes, including victory at the 2020 US PGA.
Jordan Spieth (-9)
Two bogeys in his final two holes on Saturday made a major dent in Spieth’s challenge to replicate his 2017 British Open victory, but the American is still within striking distance.
The three-time major winner has rediscovered his form after a slump saw him slide to 92nd in the world earlier this year. Spieth also has plenty of support among the galleries at Royal St. George’s but needs a fast start to apply some pressure on the final pairing.
Corey Conners (-8)
Connors has just one win on the PGA tour to his name at the Texas Open in 2019, but has some major pedigree thanks to two top-10 finishes at the Masters in the past two years.
As more famous names faltered on Saturday, the Canadian posted a bogey-free round of 66 to put himself in contention ahead of what could be the round of his life.
“I feel ready. I’m going to be a little bit behind starting tomorrow, but I like where my game is at,” said the world number 38.
Jon Rahm (-7)
If anyone is capable of making up a five-shot deficit on Oosthuizen, it is the man who entered the week as pre-tournament favourite on the back of his scintillating form.
After a disappointing one over par opening round, no one has bettered the newly-crowned US Open champion’s total of eight under for the last two rounds.
© Agence France-Presse