SA's Louis Oosthuizen wins his first SA Open title
Louis Oosthuizen put an early final round wobble behind him before emphatically charging to a maiden SA Open title here on Sunday.
He obliterated the field to finish on 18-under for a six-shot winning margin‚ the biggest since Tim Clarke won in Durban in 2005.
He became only the sixth player after Bobby Locke‚ Gary Player‚ Bob Charles (New Zealand)‚ Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson (Sweden) to win the The Open and the South African Open.
A tearful Oosthuizen was hugely relieved afterwards.
“When the last putt dropped it was such a relief knowing I put my name up with greats that have won it. Any South African wants to win SA Open‚” said Oosthuizen who had not played in this event since 2011 as a result of conflicting schedules.
France’s Romain Langasque whose 66 was the joint lowest round of the day finished second‚ while Charl Schwartzel‚ Bryce Easton‚ Thomas Aiken and England’s Oliver Wilson were two shots further back.
There was heartbreak for Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya who narrowly missed out on a spot in next year’s Open Championship.
He finished on nine-under.
The win is likely to propel Oosthuizen‚ South Africa’s highest ranked golfer‚ inside the top 30 in the world.
It was far from a breeze early on in the final round however.
Oosthuizen made an underwhelming start but much like the cloud cover‚ his mood eased as the day wore on.
“I drove poorly on one and two and was a little unlucky on three.”
Bogeys at the second and third must have enthused the chasing pack but those closest to him failed to capitalise.
Oosthuizen instead turned on the heat with four birdies over the next six holes leading into the turn.
Even when he had things firmly under control Oosthuizen would not let up. He missed the fairway to the left just short of the water on the 16th but he hit a delightful approach that led to a birdie.
The big movers on the day Langasque‚ Wilson and Easton made proper headway but they started from too far back to genuinely trouble Oosthuizen.
The men who initially were in a position to pounce faded.
Despite some consistent iron play on the front nine‚ Charl Schwartzel’s putter was cold.
Muthiya who was three shots back at the start of the day was staging a recovery by the turn but a double bogey six on the 10th put paid to his prospects.
Branden Grace had played himself into contention by going four-under for the day by the time he reached the eighth.
He was just two behind Oosthuizen then but three consecutive bogeys scuppered his ambitions.
There was also joy for Jovan Rebula won the Freddie Tait Cup as the leading amateur in the tournament.