Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa came through a sudden-death playoff against England’s Chris Wood and Manuel Quiros of Spain to claim victory in the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club.
Oosthuizen shared the lead with Austria’s Markus Brier going into day four but the 2010 Open Champion was unable go pull away from the pack. He struggled to get anything going through the final round and his title hopes looked to be slipping away during the back nine. But the 28-year-old played himself back into contention with a superb eagle three at the par-5 15th.
“That one really helped,” he said.
He then parred the final three holes to finish regulation play on 16-under-par. That matched the totals already posted by England’s Chris Wood and Q School graduate Manuel Quiros of Spain.
The three players went back to the 18th to settle the title via a sudden-death playoff. Oosthuizen won the honour and pulled his tee-shot to the left. His ball looked destined for the long grass but it took a fortuitous kick back towards the fairway and ended safely on the short grass. Both Quiros and Wood hit good drives down the centre cut.
Oosthuizen was first to play his second shot and he piled on the pressure by firing his approach to within 10 feet of the flag. Wood hit next and came up slightly short. Quiros overcooked his approach and ended just through the green.
The Spaniard was first to play and his chip grazed the edge of the hole, ending stone dead for four. Wood’s birdie effort also narrowly missed and, when he tapped in for four, Oosthuizen was left with a putt for the title.
The home player composed himself, decided on the correct line with his caddy then calmly stroked the ball home to secure the title. With the win, Oosthuizen takes an early lead in the 2011 Race to Dubai.
“The whole day was a bit of a struggle,” Oosthuizen said. “Then I made this one in the play-off which was nice. I hit a terrible tee shot and then hit a full sand-wedge to get close. Then I made the putt, it was great.”
Scotland’s Steven O’Hara fired an excellent closing round of 66 to finish in a tie for fourth with Jaco Van Zyl and Charl Schwartzel, both of South Africa.
East London Golf Club, South Africa
Jan 6-9, purse €1,000,000, par 73
1 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 70 67 69 70 276 €158,000
T2 Chris Wood (Eng) 72 69 67 68 276 €92,100
T2 Manuel Quiros (Esp) 71 68 68 69 276 €92,100
T4 Steven O’Hara (Sco) 72 71 68 66 277 €41,933
T4 Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 67 70 70 70 277 €41,933
T4 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 69 70 68 70 277 €41,933
7 Robert Dinwiddie (Eng) 69 74 66 69 278 €29,500
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only