After 54 holes of golf of the highest quality, we have reached the business end of the 121st US Open where we have a South African in a tie for the lead heading into the final round at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.
A closing eagle on the 18th was good enough to send Louis Oosthuizen to the top of the leaderboard alongside the co-leader at the halfway stage, American Russell Henley, as well as Canadian, Mackenzie Hughes. Oosthuizen will tee off in the final group with Hughes with a whole host of players, including Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm in hot pursuit. Oosthuizen has been knocking on the door for a 2nd major title for a number of years now and a victory tonight would be a thoroughly well-deserved outcome for a man who has bizarrely never won on American soil.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout, playing with Bryson DeChambeau, matched Oosthuizen with an equally impressive round of 70 and currently finds himself in a five-way tie for ninth. After falling well out of contention in the final round at the PGA Championship, Bezuidenhout will aim to secure his first top-ten finish in a major at the seventh time of asking.
Sitting on three over par for the tournament, following a disappointing inward nine including four birdies and a birdie, Branden Grace would appear to sit too far down the leaderboard to mount a serious comeback on the final day. Fellow countryman, Charl Schwartzel, joins Grace in a tie for 31st following an even par third round of 71. A further shot back in a tie for 41st is Dylan Frittelli, who could not replicate the strong performance of his playing partner, Ian Poulter and only managed to sign for 72. Wilco Nienaber did not have his most memorable round on the South Course, an ugly score of 80 sees him prop up the field in 71st place. Rumour has it, he will play with marker Jason Gore, who has outgoing USGA CEO, Mike Davis on the bag.
Whatever happens tonight, we at Compleat Golfer HQ will be rooting for King Louis tonight and should he join Gary Player, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in having his name carved into the plinth of the US Open trophy, tomorrow morning’s bleary eyes will be thoroughly worth it!