MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa shot a 4-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Robert Coles of England after the third round of the Andalucia Open on Saturday.
Oosthuizen finished at 14-under 196 in a bid for his first European Tour victory and a second straight trip to the Masters. He led after the third round of last weekend’s Trophee Hassan II, but faltered on the final day to finish second for the fourth time on the European Tour.
This time, he has to hold off Coles, who had 10 birdies in a round of 63. Gabriel Canizares of Spain was another shot back in third, while Richard Finch of England also moved into contention after a 66 that put him in fourth place, three shots behind.
Sam Hutsby of England – who shared the overnight lead with Oosthuizen – only managed a 70 to fall into a tie for fifth.
Oosthuizen is hoping a win will help secure a spot at Augusta next month.
“All I can do is go out and try to play my best, stick to my normal game plan and not try to take on shots that I would not normally play,” he said. “If I can score a 65 or 66 it should be good enough.”
The 37-year-old Coles hasn’t played a full season on the European Tour since 2006 and has occasionally worked in a street market stall to help finance his golfing career. He did earn two victories on the European Challenge Tour last year, but acknowledged that he’s feeling a bit nervous ahead of the final round at the Parador Golf Club.
“I am not the most confident golfer in the world,” he said. “I cannot take anything for granted out on the golf course.”
Canizares, meanwhile, only plays tournaments in Spain and needed a sponsor’s exemption to enter this weekend.