Johannesburg – With three bogeys and a disastrous triple on his card at Durban Country Club, Louis Oosthuizen still managed a respectable 71 on Saturday and believes it is enough to stay in with a chance to win the Volvo Golf Champions.
“Just a lot of birdies today, and a lot of bogeys, but I'm still in good position for tomorrow,” said the defending champion, who finished two shots off the pace on eight-under-par 208.
Oosthuizen had the chance to take the outright lead when he pulled ahead of Fleetwood at 10 under through 15 holes, but ran into trouble off the tee.
“It's the swing holiday swing I've been talking about,” he explained. “I thought the shot would hook around the tree. I took the spin off and it just went straight through. But you know, a hole like 16 just gets you back into perspective in your mind and I knew 17, 18, was important not to drop another shot.
“I was frustrated that I finally got to seven birdies, because around this golf course you should make a lot of birdies, but there were way too many mistakes today. You don't want to give yourself unnecessary work to do.
“I just need to focus a bit more, keep those bogeys off the card and I'm still in with a chance.”
Last year, the 2010 Open champion came from five shots behind to win and no-one is more aware of his presence than the young Tommy Fleetwood, looking to top the charts in South Africa.
The Englishman is poised at 10-under-par 206 after dropping just a single shot on his way to a 69, which was matched by his former amateur rival, Victor Dubuisson, and with whom he will tee off in the final round on Sunday.
When asked if playing with the Frenchman instead of the local hero will take the pressure off a little, Fleetwood was very quick to respond that he would have relished the chance to play with Oosthuizen.
“I would have loved to play with Louis, especially in South Africa,” Fleetwood said.
“He is one of the best players in the world, so I would have liked to watch him. I think as long as you keep your head down and focus on your game, I don't think it matters who you play with.”
Fleetwood does acknowledge that not only will he have Oosthuizen breathing down his neck, but the local fans will probably desert him, too.
“The crowds have been fantastic the past three days and have really given me a lot of support, but I'm not sure the fans will be cheering for many other people tomorrow.”
While Oosthuizen felt that he was definitely still in with a chance, he expects compatriots Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace to make a charge at Fleetwood alongside himself, Dubuisson and overnight leader Joost Luiten from the Netherlands, who carded a 70.
Schwartzel shot to five under with a four under 68 that featured an eagle, three birdies and an early bogey, while Grace finished three off the pace after this 68 that included an additional birdie and bogey combination.
“Branden is playing well and Charl is playing well, so you can expect them to come at us tomorrow, especially if they get the putters going,” Oosthuizen said. – Sapa