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Handling the heat

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Louis Oosthuizen had made it to the weekend of a major championship just once before in his career, much less dealt with the anxiety of shouldering a lead overnight.

And then he found himself challenged with about 29 hours of it.

"There's just so much lying around you can do," he concluded.

Nor did it help matters when the 27-year-old South African bogeyed Saturday's opening hole at St. Andrews. Here comes the letdown, many thought.

But Oosthuizen never gave another stroke back to par, in fact, pulling together a 3-under 69 that left him with another chance to sleep on the British Open lead — four shots in front, and 18 holes from holding the claret jug.

Maybe then folks will learn how to pronounce his name.

Again for the record, it's WUHST-hy-zen.

"I don't think anyone was thinking I was going to be up there," Oosthuizen said. "No one can actually say my surname, so they don't even know who I am out there.

"It's great being up there (in front). I just want to enjoy everything about it."

England's Paul Casey pushed him all day, but Oosthuizen birdied two of his final three holes at the Old Course to open some distance between him and his only close pursuer. Other than Casey four shots back, no one else is closer than seven strokes.

Oosthuizen reached the three-round checkpoint at 15-under 201, three off the Open record and two shy of Nick Faldo's mark for the best 54-hole Open score at St. Andrews.

"Louis has actually been playing some really good golf this year," said countryman Retief Goosen, twice a major champion. "He has one of the best swings on (the European) Tour. And he's a good wind player."

Casey posted a 67, making five birdies in a front-side 31 but stalling with nine pars the rest of the way. Then you have to go all the way back to 8-under to find Germany's Martin Kaymer (68), with three golfers another stroke back.

Tiger Woods carded a 1-over 73 Saturday, falling 12 shots off the pace and seeing the window all but close on his bid to become the first man to capture three Opens at St. Andrews.

"I just didn't get anything out of the round," said Woods.

Oosthuizen began Saturday with a five-stroke advantage, having missed most of Friday's windblown chaos that sent afternoon scores soaring, posting a 67 in the day's opening group.

With Saturday's late start to let 30 golfers complete their second rounds, Oosthuizen had to wait about 29 hours to between rounds.

"It felt like a week and a half, really," said Oosthuizen, who waited in his hotel room.

He got off to a rough start as his lag putt from the edge of the green zoomed about 10 feet past the hole and he missed the comebacker.

"I was quite a bit nervous on the first," Oosthuizen said. "But I got myself together and made a few par saves. … I felt like I swung it really well all day."

jshain@tribune.com

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