South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen today remained on course to win his first major title in the 139th Open Championship at St Andrews.
Oosthuizen took a four-shot lead over England’s Paul Casey into the final round, and was still four ahead as the final pair reached the turn on the Old Course.
The 27-year-old opened with seven straight pars and after dropping a shot on the eighth, responded brilliantly with an eagle two on the ninth.
Oosthuizen drove the green on the 352-yard par four and confidently holed from 40ft to move to 16 under par, Casey then having to hole from eight feet for birdie to keep in touch at 12 under.
Casey had twice covered the front nine in 31 this week but was unable to find such scintillating form when he needed it most, the world number 10 matching Oosthuizen’s 35.
After missing from five feet for birdie on the first, Casey bogeyed the second after coming up well short of the green with his approach, but birdied the sixth from close range and also drove the green on the ninth.
It looked like remaining a two-horse race between the leading duo, with Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson four shots further back.
None of the contenders had been able to mount an early charge, with five of the six players in the last three groups going to the turn in 35.
England’s Luke Donald finished birdie-eagle to join Spain’s Alvaro Quiros and American Jeff Overton as clubhouse leaders on five under, but world number two Phil Mickelson came home in 41 to card a closing 75.
And Tiger Woods could only manage a closing 72 to finish well off the pace on three under, the world number one never threatening to claim an unprecedented third Open title at St Andrews.