Louis has the wind in his sails at SA Open

Sunday Times - - Stsport - By LIAM DEL CARME at Rand­park Golf Club

● Load-shed­ding cut the joy off the course here yes­ter­day, while on it a blus­ter­ing north­east­erly led to some blun­der­ing.

The capri­cious breeze played havoc and even the usu­ally un­flap­pable Louis Oosthuizen bat­tled to stay on course.

Oosthuizen’s 67, the joint low­est round of the day, proved more than suf­fi­cient to cat­a­pult him into the lead at 14-un­der af­ter the third round of the South African Open. Oosthuizen holds a three-shot lead over Charl Schwartzel, Eng­land’s Matt Wal­lace and Zam­bia’s Madal­itso Muthiya.

“I didn’t think it was pos­si­ble to be windier than yes­ter­day, but it was,” said Oosthuizen. “It’s very strange play­ing up here with this kind of wind.”

Tucked-away pins

Schwartzel, the leader af­ter the sec­ond round, lamented the wind, but to be fair his put­ter left him equally cold. “I grew up here and I’ve never played two days of golf in a row with this kind of wind blow­ing like this in Jo­han­nes­burg. It is very ab­nor­mal. The pins were tucked away so it was very dif­fi­cult to go at them.”

He was un­der­stand­ably mod­est about his prospects of over­haul­ing an op­po­nent as re­doubtable as Oosthuizen.

Muthiya held the lead briefly, but re­lin­quished it un­der rather bizarre cir­cum­stances on the par-three fifth. He missed the green to the left be­fore his at­tempted re­cov­ery came up short in the fringe. He then tried to im­pro­vise with one of his “res­cue” clubs but dou­ble hit the ball, lead­ing to a dou­ble­bo­gey five. He bounced back with birdies on the back nine.

From Cop­per Belt to US

Should he go on to win, Muthiya will be­come the first player from this con­ti­nent ex­clud­ing South Africans and Zim­bab­weans, to win the SA Open.

Born in the Zam­bian Cop­per Belt town of Kitwe, Muthiya took to the sport at the age of six. The prodigy was no­ticed by for­mer Zam­bian pres­i­dent Fred­er­ick Chiluba, who ar­ranged for him to play a tour­na­ment in the United States. Muthiya did not look back and went on to rep­re­sent the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico be­fore turn­ing pro in 2005. The fol­low­ing year he be­came the first black African to play in the US Open.

“I just want to shoot a good round,” he said about the fi­nal round. “Those guys have a pedi­gree be­hind them. The beau­ti­ful thing about golf is just to go out there, shoot a good round and see where you stack up.”

At the other end of the re­main­ing field, 15-year-old Yu­rav Prem­lall, the youngest player to play in this tour­na­ment, grimly bat­tled on af­ter mak­ing the cut.

“I didn’t ex­pect to be the youngest to play in this event but now I’m part of it.

“I have tried to stick to my game plan the whole week and not put too much pres­sure on my­self by hyp­ing things up. Just keep it sim­ple as pos­si­ble,” said the teenager.

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