Oosthuizen wins his second straight Africa Open after two-shot swing

louis oosthuizen
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Louis Oosthuizen's victory on Sunday was his second straight in the Africa Open, his first since winning at East London last year and his fourth on the European Tour.
By
PA Sport and Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Sunday, January 08, 2012 | 2:24 p.m.

Louis Oosthuizen holed a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to top fellow South African Tjaart van der Walt and retain his title at the Africa Open on Sunday.

The former British Open champion beat van der Walt by two shots after closing with a 6-under 67 for a 27-under total of 265 at the season-opening European Tour event that also was sanctioned by southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour.

AFRICA OPEN

The 2012 European Tour kicks off this week at the Africa Open and concludes Nov. 22-25 in Dubai.

Van der Walt shot a 69 to finish one shot ahead of Retief Goosen, who also carded a 69 at the par-73 East London Golf Club.

Oosthuizen and van der Walt were tied with two holes to play but Oosthuizen’s birdie and van der Walt’s bogey at the short par-3 No. 17 finally separated the pair.

It was the 29-year-old Oosthuizen’s fourth European Tour title and first since his win in East London in 2011, while van der Walt again missed out on a first professional victory.

Oosthuizen had an up-and-down front nine with an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys. But he birdied Nos. 11 and 17 and didn’t drop any shots coming home to claim the $201,000 winner’s check.

Van der Walt opened with three straight birdies and had five in all. His only bogey of the day was the crucial slip at No. 17, where he missed a birdie chance and a short putt for par.

"It was a real dogfight for most of the day," Oosthuizen said. "What happened on 17, it was going to be one of us who faltered. If I two-putted, he would probably have made that short putt. One of us needed to make some big putt to put a lot of pressure on the other guy and it was just fortunate for me that it went my way.

"I remember watching Tjaart when I was an amateur, and it was just great seeing him play to his potential today," he added. "He 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."

Goosen, who won the Africa Open in 2009, managed an eagle and three birdies but dropped a shot at No. 10 and finished alone in third, one clear of Jaco van Zyl (66). Goosen carded a birdie and an eagle in his opening three holes, but his challenge faded and he picked up just two more birdies and a bogey.

Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth was fifth to break up a run of South Africans at the top of the leaderboard. Another South African, Richard Sterne, closed with a 3-under 70 for 20 under and sixth in his first tournament in nearly a year after struggling with major back problems.