Oosthuizen-Schwartzel surge to Zurich Classic 3rd-round lead

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Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, tees off on the fourth hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament on Friday, April 9, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

AVONDALE, La. – Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen got away with an unremarkable first 11 holes Saturday at the Zurich Classic before lifting his team atop the leaderboard with a finishing flourish.

Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel birdied six of their final eight holes at a windy TPC Louisiana to shoot a 9-under 63 and take a one-shot lead at 19-under 197 into Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour's lone regular-season team event.

“It was a very rough first 10 holes for me,” Oosthuizen said, referring to his inability to get a single birdie in best ball play during that stretch, when Schwartzel carried the team by making three of his five third-round birdies.

Schwartzel got the South African pair going when he birdied No. 4 with a nearly 58-foot putt.

“In the beginning, it was all on him,” Oosthuizen said.

But Oosthuizen birdied No. 12 and the final three holes, highlighted by his 33-foot putt on the par-3 17th. Oosthuizen missed an eagle on the par-5 18th by 4 inches before tapping in for the lead while wearing a somewhat disgusted look because of his narrowly missed previous putt from nearly 17 feet.

Oosthuizen then allowed a smile while fist-bumping Schwartzel in acknowledgment of a successful round that included nine birdies.

Now Oosthuizen heads into Sunday in pole position for his first PGA Tour triumph since winning at St. Andrews in 2010. Schwartzel has not won since 2016 at the Valspar Championship played near Tampa.