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LIV Stars Oosthuizen and Ortiz Lead Heading Into Final Round in Oman

Louis Oosthuizen International Series Oman
Louis Oosthuizen (Image credit: International Series Oman)

Louis Oosthuizen ended 2023 with two fine victories on home soil and it appears that could signify the start of something big this season as he ominously moved into a share of the third-round lead today in the US$2million International Series Oman.

He carded a five-under-par 67 at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, to take pole position on 12-under with Mexican Carlos Ortiz, who shot a 68.

Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, in with the best round of the day - a 65 - is a shot further back in a tie for third with Filipino Justin Quiban (67), Travis Smyth (68) from Australia, Chinese amateur Sampson Zheng (68) and American Peter Uihlein (70). Halfway leader Mito Pereira from Chile had a poor day, signing for a 76 to tumble down the leaderboard and end on seven under, in a tie for 15th.

South Africa’s Oosthuizen won the Alfred Dunhill Championship and AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open back-to-back in December. He clearly enjoyed the challenge at Al Mouj Golf – voted by the Asian Tour players as the joint best course last year – as he made his move today.

"I played well,” said the 41-year-old, winner of The Open in 2010 and also a runner-up in six other Majors and third in two more.

"The greens are very firm. It’s good, they are running true. You need to really focus on where you want to land that second shot, so hitting fairways is very important.

"I am hitting it very well. I am still struggling a bit on the greens, finding the right lines, my speed and lines aren’t matching up but with the greens as good as this, it’s a good test."

On a day when the wind picked up slightly, he went expertly bogey-free and has only made one bogey through 54 holes, the fifth on day one.

He added: "When it is like this I try and hit as many greens in regulation. When it’s like this and not really going to the pin, you pick out a position on the green and give yourself some kind of putt. I like when it’s tough like this, when you need to think your way around the golf course."

He also won on the LIV Golf League last year when his Stinger GC team triumphed in Tulsa.

Carlos Ortiz International Series Oman
Carlos Ortiz (Image credit: International Series Oman)

Ortiz has also kept a remarkably clean sheet with the only blemish coming on his very first hole on Thursday, where he made a double.

"I am playing solid, just trying to minimise mistakes. I have been trying to give myself some room and put pressure on those second shots,” said the Mexican, who is on the Torque GC team this season on LIV Golf having played for the Fireballs GC last season, when they won two events.

"I have done that really well, that’s been working. I am not trying to be too aggressive, just find the greens and give myself chances. It is the kind of golf course when you start pushing you can make mistakes."

The International Series Oman is the first event of year on The International Series, 10 upper-tier events sanctioned by the Asian Tour that provide a pathway to the LIV Golf League.

It’s also the second event of 2024 on the Asian Tour, which began at last week’s IRS Prima Malaysian Open, where victory went to Spaniard David Puig.

Puig shot a 70 and is six off the lead.

Defending champion Takumi Kanaya from Japan carded the same score and is one shot better.