Oosthuizen clinches Volvo Golf Champions by a shot

Reuters, DURBAN, South Africa

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - Page 19

World No. 6 Louis Oosthuizen fired a six-under-par 66 to overhaul third-round leader Scott Jamieson and clinch the Volvo Golf Champions by one shot on Sunday, a victory that will move him to fourth in the rankings.

Jamieson had held a five-stroke advantage after 54 holes, but seven birdies from the 2010 British Open champion Oosthuizen gave him a sixth European Tour win on 16-under 272 ahead of Briton Jamieson (72), who nearly holed a chip at the 18th to force a playoff.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (68) sealed third place a shot further back, while triple major winner Padraig Harrington (68) finished fourth on 12-under.

Oosthuizen, who on Saturday surrendered the lead as he struggled to a 74, birdied two of the first three holes to put the pressure on Jamieson.

Further birdies at the sixth and eighth holes rounded off an outward nine of 32 and he had reduced the deficit to one by the turn.

Birdies at the 10th and 11th holes propelled him into the lead, and despite bogeying the par-four 16th after finding the greenside bunker, Oosthuizen’s two-putt pars at the 17th and 18th holes were enough to clinch victory.

“I played the complete opposite of what I did yesterday [Saturday],” the 30-year-old, who was to move to a career-high fourth place in the rankings released yesterday, told reporters. “Yesterday I felt really uncomfortable — my swing felt long and unstable. This morning I worked on a few things on the range and put my head down. I knew if I could just put a score up there, or just get close to Scott, that I had a good chance.”

Oosthuizen, who has now recorded a win in the last three seasons in his native South Africa, said his ambition was to climb even higher in the rankings although world No. 1 Rory McIlroy was a little far off.

“Top spot is a tough one. I think Rory [McIlroy] is far ahead, so if I can somehow get myself to number two then I can work on trying to get to number one,” he said.

Scot Jamieson, who won his maiden European Tour title at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban five weeks ago, nearly forced a playoff when his eagle chip at the short par-four 18th finished inches from the cup.

“I almost had a grand-stand finish at the end there,” the world No. 100 told reporters after a frustrating day where he managed just three birdies, a double-bogey on the front nine proving costly.