Oosthuizen’s late surge keeps him in share of the lead

Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen birdied three of the final four holes to retain a share of the lead on a topsy-turvy day on the Africa Open leaderboard in East London.

Defending champion Oosthuizen started his round with three straight birdies but could not match the pace of Friday, when he vaulted into the lead with a stunning 62.

A bogey at the 11th saw him falling into the clutches of the chasing pack before a late recovery gave the former Open champion a six-under 67 to be 21 under for the tournament.

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That left him in a tie with countryman Tjaart van der Walt, who fired a round of 65.

Afterwards, Oosthuizen was left to reflect on the mistake on the 11th that cost him the overall lead.

“It was an elementary mistake really,” he said on europeantour.com. “Those little chip-outs seem easy, and I made the basic error of leaving it short of a tree for my approach to the green.”

Van der Walt birdied the opening four holes and, despite bogeying the eighth when he took a penalty, made the turn at five under par before three more birdies, including at the 18th, saw him take the outright lead before Oosthuizen completed his late fightback.

Van der Walt, who is yet to win a tournament in a 15-year career, remained bullish in his battle with bigger names at the top of the leaderboard.

“At the end of the day the golf ball doesn’t know that they are major champions,” he said. “I’ve played at the highest level, I’ve never won majors or big events, so who knows what can happen.”

He was not the only man to spend at least a brief spell above Oosthuizen. England’s Danny Willett was enjoying an outstanding day with five birdies on the opening nine and four more on the way back giving him the lead before a bogey on the ninth. He went round in 65 to sit joint fourth, one shot behind double US Open champion Retief Goosen, whose drama-free 66 left him on 20 under par.

Richard Sterne enjoyed the best round of the day as he signed for a nine-under 64. to move up to fifth place.