• Three pairings to watch in third round at The Open

    The Open
    Louis Oosthuizen and Collin Morikawa

    The 149th British Open is making up for lost time after the event was cancelled in 2020, with a leaderboard packed with star names heading into the weekend.

    Former champion Louis Oosthuizen leads by two shots from Collin Morikawa on 11 under after shooting the lowest score through 36 holes of 129 in Open Championship history.

    However, a host of Major winners are in the hunt of the final pairing after Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka were among those to shoot up the leaderboard on Friday.

    AFP Sport looks at three pairings to watch at Royal St George’s on Saturday (all times GMT):

    1:55pm – Brooks Koepka (-5), Cameron McKenzie (-5)

    Four-time Major champion Koepka stated confidently before a ball was struck that he “would be close” to the final group come Sunday and three consecutive birdies to finish his second round kept him in contention despite what he described as an “unforgivable” double bogey at the 4th.

    Koepka is a serial contender at Majors but has not won one since 2019 and is aiming to finally land the Claret Jug after finishing in the top 10 in three of his last four British Opens.

    By contrast, Canadian Mackenzie has only once finished inside the top 40 at a Major, but that came at last month’s US Open and he has adapted well to his first taste of the Open Championship at Royal St George’s.

    2:45 – Jordan Spieth (-8), Dylan Frittelli (-7)

    Former Open champion Spieth was left ruing what might have been after playing the last six holes of his second round at one over.

    However, he built the platform to contend over the weekend by going nine under for his first 30 holes and looks to be edging back towards the player who won back-to-back Majors in 2015.

    Frittelli only made it to Sandwich thanks to a raft of pull-outs following coronavirus infections or isolation periods due to being close contacts and some players choosing to focus on their Olympic preparations.

    The South African was the 11th reserve, but has made the most of his chance to move into a tie for fourth at the halfway stage.

    2:55pm – Louis Oosthuizen (-11), Collin Morikawa (-9)

    Oosthuizen has experience of leading at the halfway stage of the British Open as he stormed clear of the field after moving to the top of the leaderboard on the Friday of his only previous Major triumph at St Andrews in 2010.

    By contrast, Morikawa is making his debut at golf’s oldest Major, but has adapted to British conditions quickly in just his second event in Europe.

    The 24-year-old American briefly took the lead from Oosthuizen with his 64 on Friday before the South African’s run of birdie, birdie, eagle between 12 and 14.

    Oosthuizen is a man in form after also finishing second in each of the last two Majors at the US Open and US PGA Championship.

    But Morikawa has also shown he raises his game on the big occasion, claiming the 2020 US PGA and finishing fourth at the US Open last month.

    Article written by

    Juandre Joubert