Tue, Jan 10, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Oosthuizen retains Africa Open title in late two-stroke win

Reuters, EAST LONDON, SOUTH AFRICA

South African Louis Oosthuizen retained his Africa Open title, holding his nerve at the decisive 17th to complete a two-stroke win on Sunday.

Oosthuizen carded a final round six-under par-67 to end on 27-under par for the co--sanctioned tournament just ahead of countryman Tjaart van der Walt, who completed a final round 69.

The 29-year-old Oosthuizen, who won last year’s edition of the Africa Open after a three-man playoff, made a mixed start to his final round with an eagle, a birdie and two dropped shots in his first five holes.

However, he made three birdies between the sixth and ninth holes to reach the turn in 25--under and a share for the lead with van der Walt before grabbing another birdie on the par-five 11th.

The first three days of the tournament had seen sunny skies and barely a breath of wind, but day four provided overcast conditions and a blustery wind that made scoring slightly more difficult than it had been on the coastal course, especially for the late starters.

By the 17th, van der Walt and Oosthuizen, who began the day as co-leaders, were locked in an enthralling struggle both on 26-under.

However, van der Walt bogeyed the 164-yard hole after his tee shot failed to find the green, while Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Champion, showed all his experience to sink a 35-foot birdie putt.

The two-shot swing effectively signaled the end of van der Walt’s challenge, leaving the 37-year-old journeyman still searching for his first professional win after 10 second-place finishes.

The victory was Oosthuizen’s fourth on the European Tour and made him the early front-runner in this year’s Race to Dubai as he pocketed the winner’s check of 158,500 euros (US$201,300).

South African Retief Goosen finished in third place, three shots off the pace, after a final round of 69.

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