Thursday 23 November 2017

Oosthuizen holds off Van der Walt to retain Africa Open title

SOUTH AFRICA'S Louis Oosthuizen retained his Africa Open title after holding his nerve at the decisive 17th to complete a two-stroke win in East London.

Oosthuizen carded a final round six-under par 67 to end on 27-under-par for the co-sanctioned tournament just ahead of countryman Tjaart van der Walt, who completed a final round 69.

The 29-year-old Oosthuizen, who won last year's edition of the Africa Open after a three-man play-off, made a mixed start to his final round with an eagle, a birdie and two dropped shots in his first five holes.

But he made three birdies between the sixth and ninth holes to reach the turn in 25-under and a share for the lead with Van der Walt before grabbing another birdie on the par-five 11th.

The first three days of the tournament had seen sunny skies and barely a breath of wind, but day four provided overcast conditions and a blustery wind which made scoring slightly more difficult than it had been on the coastal course, especially for the late starters.

By the 17th, Van der Walt and Oosthuizen, who began the day as co-leaders, were both locked in an enthralling struggle on 26-under.

But Van der Walt bogeyed the 164-yard hole after his tee shot failed to find the green, while Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, showed all his experience to sink a 35ft birdie putt.

The victory was Oosthuizen's fourth on the European Tour and made him the early front-runner in this year's Race to Dubai as he pocketed the winner's cheque of ¤158,500.

South African Retief Goosen finished in third, three shots off the pace, after a final round of 69.

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