South African Oosthuizen takes Houston control

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen birdied five of the last seven holes to charge two shots clear in the third round of the weather-delayed Houston Open in Humble, Texas on Saturday.

The smooth-swinging South African recovered from bogeys on the first two holes to card a six-under-par 66 at the rain-softened Redstone Golf Club in the final PGA Tour event before next week's Masters.

Oosthuizen, who romped to a seven-stroke victory at the 2010 British Open, launched his late surge with four consecutive birdies from the 12th to post a 17-under total of 199.

American Hunter Mahan was alone in second place after carding a 65, with Swede Carl Pettersson (67) and Britain's Brian Davis (69) a further stroke back at 14 under.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson was among a group of three players tied for sixth at 11 under after shooting a three-birdie 70.

For the second round in a row at Redstone, players were permitted to lift, clean and replace their balls on a course that had been saturated by more than an inch of rain on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, American Jeff Maggert birdied three of his last eight holes to grab a one-shot lead when the weather-delayed second round was finally completed at Redstone to get the tournament back on track.

Maggert went on to shoot 76 in the third round to finish a long day tied for 14th at eight under par.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine)