Louis Oosthuizen takes a two-shot lead into the third round of the 149th Open on Saturday on the back of a record-breaking display at Royal St George’s.
Runner-up in the last two majors, Oosthuizen added a 65 to his opening 64 for a halfway total of 129, eclipsing the previous best of 130 set by Sir Nick Faldo in 1992 and matched by Brandt Snedeker in 2012.
Only a bogey on the 16th prevented Oosthuizen from equalling the lowest halfway score in any major – Brooks Koepka’s 128 in the 2019 US PGA – but he will be more concerned with the Claret Jug than records after the events of this season.
Already a runner-up in all four major championships, Oosthuizen took his unwanted total of near misses to six by finishing second in both the US PGA at Kiawah Island and the US Open at Torrey Pines.
But the 38-year-old South African, who won the Open at St Andrews in 2010 and lost a play-off at the same venue in 2015, is halfway towards an overdue second major after following birdies on the first, seventh, 12th and 13th with an eagle on the 14th.
At 11 under par Oosthuizen was two shots clear of 2020 US PGA champion Collin Morikawa, with three-time major winner Jordan Spieth a stroke further back and world number one Dustin Johnson on seven under.
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“I heard that 10 per cent of the Open prize money goes towards the Challenge Tour rankings, so then it was a no-brainer to come here. It’s the best event in the world” – Marcel Siem had considered turning down his Open place to concentrate on the Challenge Tour, but made the right decision.
Jonathan Thomson was outside the cut mark when he produced a moment of magic on the 16th.
It could have been even better, but Collin Morikawa’s 64 was a brilliant display of ball-striking.
For once Oosthuizen will not want to take his place in the record books with Jack Nicklaus and Ernie Els.
The 15th played back into what wind there was and was the toughest hole again, playing to an average of 4.361 and giving up just 12 birdies.
The par-five 14th was the easiest hole for the second day running, playing to an average of 4.555 after yielding six eagles and 82 birdies.
Dry, with long sunny spells. A low risk of patchy cloud initially should give way to dry and bright conditions with long sunny spells through the afternoon. Light winds of between 8-12mph.
1445 Jon Rahm (Spa), Cameron Tringale (USA)
1455 Brooks Koepka (USA), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)
1535 Dustin Johnson (USA), Scottie Scheffler (USA)
1545 Jordan Spieth (USA), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)
1555 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Collin Morikawa (USA)