Louis Oosthuizen successfully defended his Africa Open title at East London Golf Club, beating fellow South African Tjaart Van Der Valt by two strokes.
The 2010 Open Champion began the final round tied for the lead with Van Der Valt and the pair remained locked together after both men went out in four-under-par 33. Those front nines were compiled in very different ways however.
Van Der Valt came out of the blocks fast with three consecutive birdies, he then reeled off four straight pars before another birdie at the eighth. Oosthuizen recorded only two pars in his front nine, those were accompanied by four birdies, two bogeys and an eagle at the par-5 3rd.
“It was a real dogfight for most of the day,” said Oosthuizen. “Tjaart played really well. He’s one of those who won’t go away. He’s not going to mess it up – he’s too consistent for that.”
Oosthuizen grabbed the lead with a birdie at the 11th but Van Der Valt struck back with a birdie of his own at the 13th. The real turning point came at the difficult par-3 17th. Oosthuizen holed a long putt across the green for birdie before Van Der Valt missed a short par effort. The resulting two-shot swing gave Oosthuizen a comfortable buffer coming down the testing final hole. He played it safely, made par and was, once again, Africa Open champion. It was his fourth European Tour title and he has finished inside the top eight in each of his last six starts. The 29-year-old has taken the early lead in the 2012 Race to Dubai.
In the end Van Der Valt did well to hold onto second place. He made a clutch par putt on the final green that kept him one ahead of Retief Goosen and that was worth over €20,000 to the South African.
Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth produced an excellent final round of 67 to finish in fifth place, one shot behind Jaco Van Zyl of South Africa in fourth.
Danny Willett of England had a slightly disappointing final round of 73 to drop back into seventh place.
East London Golf Club, South Africa
Jan 5-8, purse €1,000,000, par 73
1 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 69 62 67 67 265 €158,500
2 Tjaart Van Der Valt (RSA) 69 64 65 69 267 €115,000
3 Retief Goosen (RSA) 65 68 66 69 268 €69,200
4 Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 71 65 67 66 269 €49,100
5 Alastair Forsyth (Sco) 69 66 68 67 270 €41,300
6 Richard Sterne (RSA) 69 69 64 70 272 €35,400
7 Danny Willett (Eng) 67 68 65 73 273 €29,500
T8 Lyle Rowe (RSA) 73 68 65 68 274 €23,100
T8 Craig Lee (Sco) 68 67 68 71 274 €23,100
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage