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Louis Oosthuizen takes lead with a 66

South African Louis Oosthuizen edged closer to his first European Tour victory after a four-under 66 earned a one-stroke lead in the Andalucia Open third round on Saturday.

Oosthuizen is on 14-under, a shot better than Briton Robert Coles who surged up the leaderboard with a 63. Spaniard Gabriel Canizares, son of former Ryder Cup player Jose Maria, is a stroke further back after a 65.

It could have been a bigger comfort zone for Oosthuizen, who is bidding to break his tour duck after five second-place finishes.

A bogey on 16 by the leader and superb work on and around the greens from Coles, who took only 20 putts and chipped in for par at 16, changed the picture.

After being pipped by Briton Rhys Davies in the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco last week, Oosthuizen is hoping this time he can finally go one better and land his maiden title.

“I didn’t lose it last week, Rhys won it,” Oosthuizen told reporters, “although my putting wasn’t at its best.

“Today it wasn’t good at the start either as I had two three-putts in the first five holes but at the sixth I found a bit of rhythm.

“This is another low-scoring course and tomorrow I want to give myself as many birdie chances as I can,” added Oosthuizen.

Coles, 37, has flitted on and off the tour three times since his 1996 debut and made another return this season after winning twice on the second-tier Challenge Tour.

His latest comeback was not promising when he missed the cut in his first three events.

Then the death in January of his father Michael, on whose stall in London’s Petticoat Lane he worked to earn the money to finance his professional career, was a hammer blow.

A 15th-place finish last week though, for his first cheque of the season, gave him optimism he could make this latest return count.

“When you get your card back it justifies all the effort you put into the game,” said the Englishman.

“I’m only qualified to play golf, I can’t do anything else, but there have been many times when I was ready to give in.”

Briton Richard Finch (66) holds fourth place, three strokes off the lead.

Scores

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