Louis Oosthuizen set to outclass leaderboard rivals
Major champion lurking just off the pace
Sky Sports Golf, 4am Sunday
Story so far
Three players are tied at the top of the CIMB Classic leaderboard with 18 holes to play at TPC Kuala Lumpur – Gary Woodland, Marc Leishman and Shubhankar Sharma have all reached 19 under par through three rounds.
Ante-post 5-1 favourite Justin Thomas is seven shots off the pace and needs serious final-round fireworks to threaten a third CIMB title.
Woodland and Leishman were pre-tournament 22-1 chances, while Sharma was a 250-1 rag. The American and the Australian are jostling for favouritism going into Sunday, with the Indian available at 9-2.
-19 Gary Woodland, Marc Leishman, Shubhankar Sharma
-17 Louis Oosthuizen, Bronson Burgoon
-16 Austin Cook
-15 Stewart Cink, Charles Howell, Chesson Hadley, JB Holmes, Emiliano Grillo, Nick Watney
5-2 G Woodland, 11-4 M Leishman, 9-2 S Sharma, 10 L Oosthuizen, 20 B Burgoon, 22 A Cook, 28 E Grillo, 40 JB Holmes, 50 bar
Gary Woodland churns out greens in regulation for fun but is vulnerable with putter in hand, Marc Leishman hacked his way through the closing eight holes of round three, while Shubhankar Sharma is a US Tour maiden who seems certain to feel enormous pressure in a Sunday shootout with a US Tour card up for grabs.
There is scope for the final threeball to tread water in front and every chance that the CIMB winner comes from elsewhere. Woodland and Leishman have never been the most clinical closers of tournaments and this straightforward track is serving up dozens of birdies.
There is enough of a gap between thunderstorms for the final round to be played in hot, sunny, calm conditions on a soft track, so rounds in the low-60s should be available given welcoming pin positions.
Anyone within four shots of the lead is still very much in the hunt and the best value of all is arguably Louis Oosthuizen at 10-1.
Oosthuizen is a difficult player to catch right – injuries, motivation and rust are often an issue with the carefree South African – but he looks fully fit and focused in Malaysia this week and appears to have every chance of CIMB glory from only two shots behind.
Oosthuizen is proven at TPC Kuala Lumpur, having won the 2012 Malaysian Open by three shots on the course, and performing in Asia has never been a problem for him. The eight-time European Tour champion has only one US Tour title to his name – the 2010 Open Championship – and a first regulation US Tour victory could be coming in Kuala Lumpur.
Oosthuizen is keen to cement his position in the world's top 50 before the year's end and this trophy would do the job. He is thrilled with his new set of PING forged irons – which he has been testing for a while and put into the bag for the first time in last week's Dunhill Links – and eight Saturday birdies indicate he has found the sweet spot.
Iron-play has been a weakness this year, but Oosthuizen may have found the answer with his equipment switch and can be fancied to follow up his third-round 65 with something similar.
Oosthuizen is one of only two Major champions in the top 18 of the CIMB leaderboard (Stewart Cink is the other) and the sweet-swinging 35-year-old can show his class in round four. The shape of the leaderboard has presented a golden chance for Oosthuizen, with the well-fancied ante-post runners like Justin Thomas a long way adrift.
2pts each-way 10-1 Betfred
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