Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen got his year off to a great start, as he successfully defended his title in the Volvo Golf Champions tournament in South Africa.
Oosthuizen, who had won the tournament 12 months previously, entered the final two holes of the tournament one-shot behind leader Branden Grace, but two birdies in quick succession allowed him to finish one clear of Grace, who is also a past winner.
“It looks like proper rest, with no golf, is the key for me. It doesn’t work all of the time, but it has for the last few years." - Louis Oosthuizen
The Scots interest had peaked on Thursday when Colin Montgomerie finished his opening round just two shots off the lead, but the former Ryder Cup captain was unable to keep it going over all four days and ended the tournament 13-shots behind Oosthuizen.
“It’s great to start the year with a win again,” said Oosthuizen. “It feels really good and hopefully I can defend next year. To defend the Volvo Golf Champions tournament is special, and hopefully I can go three in a row.”
“It looks like proper rest, with no golf, is the key for me. It doesn’t work all of the time, but it has for the last few years.
“I knew Branden was going to make a charge and I saw him up there early. I really thought that you’re going to see the South Africans coming through today, and Joost Luiten played really well but just missed a few putts. He’s a good player but Branden was the one that really spurred me on to finish well.”
For Grace, it was a case of rueing the chances that he missed over the week, particularly in the final round.
I let a couple slip out there which was unfortunate, but it was a good start to the year,” he said. “If you told me my first event, I’d start off with a second place, and coming this close, I would have taken it. So I’m very pleased. The winner at the end of this week is going to be the true champions, and Louis played well, so he deserves it.”
Oosthuizen finishes on top
It may have been Oosthuizen and Grace who ended up on top, but the European contingent put up a solid performance at Durban Country Club. Joost Luiten and Tommy Fleetwood both got their seasons off to a good start as they finished in a tie for third place, while Raphael Jacquelin, Victor Dubuisson and Padraig Harrington were all one shot further back.