16 April 2012
After finishing second at the US Masters, Louis Oosthuizen crossed 12 time zones on a 30-hour journey to Kuala Lumpur for the Maybank Malaysian Open. Some feared he was in for a let-down in form, but those fears proved unfounded as he secured an impressive victory at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on Sunday.
The victory meant Oosthuizen became only the second multiple winner of the season on the European Tour, following in the footsteps of fellow South African Branden Grace, who won the Joburg Open and the Volvo Golf Champions. Previously, Oosthuizen staged a successful defence of the Africa Open title at the East London Golf Club in early January.
‘I didn’t expect to play this well’
After claiming his fifth European Tour title, Oosthuizen said: “I thought I was going to be a lot more tired. It was a long journey to get here and I have to be honest and say that I didn’t expect to play this well because of the tiredness.
“The one thing I did know was that the game was there so that helped a lot. I was pretty tired at points in those first couple of rounds but overall it has been great and I am over the moon with the result.”
The South African star’s assessment that his game is in good shape could hardly be disputed; in his last three starts he has finished third in the Shell Houston Open, second in the US Masters, and now won the Maybank Malaysian Open. That’s the kind of form that earns you over R13.25-million for just 12 rounds of golf!
First victory in Asia
The victory in the Malaysian Open is Oosthuizen’s first in Asia, making him a winner in Asia, Africa and Europe, and the recent US Masters so very nearly gave him a victory in North America too.
Fellow South African Charl Schwartzel actually started off best and grabbed the first round lead with a superb eight-under-par 64. However, his challenge fell away in the second round when he slid to a three-over 75.
Oosthuizen, meanwhile, opened with a very solid six-under 66 and followed that up with a 68 to take the halfway lead on 10-under-par 134, one shot clear of South Africans Jbe Kruger and Hennie Otto, and Scotsman Stephen Gallagher.
One shot gap after three rounds
The gap between Oosthuizen and Gallagher remained at one shot after both posted 69s in the third round. Otto, with a 72, and Kruger, with a 77, both fell back down the field, but Schwartzel, with a 70, moved up to a tie for 13th.
Oosthuizen maintained his composure under pressure to card a final round four-under-par 68 to record a three=shot victory over Gallagher on 17-under 271.
“To win means a lot because I have been playing well for the last few weeks now and to win gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season,” said Oosthuizen.
Schwartzel matched his good friend’s 68 to move up to sixth on 11-under-par 277, while Otto closed with a second successive 72 to share seventh on nine-under-par 280.
Kruger, the winner of the Avantha Masters in New Delhi in February, recovered nicely from his nasty 77 with a round of 68 to end in a share of 11th on eight-under 280.
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