Aaron Wise, left, shakes hands with Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, after finishing the third round of the U.S. Open. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

JOHANNESBURG – Despite a slow start, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen remained in contention with a one-under 70 in the third round of the US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, in California, on Saturday.

Oosthuizen moved up to seven-under, four behind American leader Gary Woodland. England’s Justin Rose is second on 10-under, and Oosthuizen is joined by defending champion Brooks Koepka (USA) and Chez Reavie (USA) on the same score in a tie for third.

The 2010 Open Champion Oosthuizen played the first five holes in one-over before a birdie at the par five sixth. Another bogey at the par four eighth hurt, before another drop at the 11th left Oosthuizen two-over for his round. 

Three birdies in a row from the par four 15th, however, vaulted Oosthuizen back up the leaderboard and left the SA player in a strong position for the final round.

The world number-22 Oosthuizen said he will relish the chance to chase the victory.

“Just the fact that I've been there and know what the pressure is going to be like [will help]. But I think the guys, in the last group, there is going to be a little bit more pressure because obviously they’re in the lead,” said Oosthuizen.

"For us trailing, it's a little bit better feeling sort of giving it a better go. You don't have that pressure of the lead. And just go with everything tomorrow. If you think you can take something on, take it on. And if you want to win the championship, you need to do that tomorrow.”

The 36-year-old who also has four second-place finishes in Majors did not shy away from the fact that he will need a fast start in round four.

“I think holes one through seven I think you should be, in the position I am, probably two or three-under around when I get to the eighth hole. I think once you get through eight, nine and 10, I definitely think there's some birdie holes after that, as well. But eight, nine and 10 is always a key stretch where you can easily throw your round away.

“I can’t afford any mistakes tomorrow. I feel like I need to start well and just play a great round.”

Further down the leaderboard, SA’s Erik van Rooyen shot one-over 72 to drop to three-over overall in a tie for 48th. The only other SA player to make the cut  Justin Walters battled to a six-over 77 to drop to eight-over in 77th position. 

African News Agency (ANA)