Louis Oosthuizen will have his British Open pursuers quaking after another supreme round at Royal St George’s left him halfway towards a wire-to-wire triumph that carries whiffs of his imperious 2010 victory.
- Louis Oosthuizen has recorded the lowest halfway total in Open history
- The 38-year-old fired an eagle and four birdies, with his two-round total of 129
- Oosthuizen said setting the record was a “very special” moment
At St Andrews 11 years ago, the South African led for the final three rounds to run away with a seven-shot victory and he looks in the mood to offer something even more striking in the 149th edition as he followed up his overnight-leading 64 with a 5-under 65 on Friday.
His 11-under-par total gives him a two-shot lead going into the penultimate round after the 38-year-old recorded the lowest halfway total in Open history at Royal St George’s.
He fired an eagle and four birdies, with his two-round total of 129 eclipsing the 130 set by Nick Faldo in 1992 and Brandt Snedeker in 2012, but he made it all sound quite standard.
“Yeah, played really solid today and in good position for the weekend,” he shrugged in typically understated fashion.
If he had parred the short 16th instead of the one bogey blemish in his round, Oosthuizen would have matched the lowest halfway total at any major — Brooks Koepka’s 128 at the 2019 US PGA.
“I think I’ve played really good the last two days. Today we got really lucky over the last nine holes. It was as good a weather as you can get playing this golf course.”
With the late afternoon breeze having subsided, Oosthuizen’s crowning glory came on the par-five 14th when he made two glorious blows and sank a 25-footer for eagle.
Not that Oosthuizen will be taking anything for granted, after also previously finishing second at six majors, including this year’s US PGA and US Open.
A stellar field is menacingly behind him, with last year’s US PGA champion Collin Morikawa, on his Open debut, shooting a dazzling 64 to lie just a couple of shots adrift, while another former Open winner, Jordan Spieth, is a stroke further back at 8-under.
Morikawa was quite brilliant, having earlier also threatened the halfway record that Oosthuizen later broke.
“I had no clue what any record was. I’m awful with that stuff. I know now,” the 24-year-old said.
There is quality lurking behind that trio with world number one Dustin Johnson tied for fourth at 7-under and Koepka another two shots back alongside Jon Rahm, who fired a 64.
But Australian golf’s hopes of finding a successor to Greg Norman, the country’s last winner on these very links in 1993, are looking faint as their leading man Cameron Smith sits at 4-under in joint 17th place.
The only other Aussie out of 11 starters to make the 1-over cut was Adam Scott — the ideal way to celebrate his 41st birthday — but he is 10 shots adrift after his 66 and admits it will take a “miracle” for him to emulate Norman.