How Louis Oosthuizen exorcised a few ghosts with his maiden win in the SA Open

10 December 2018 - 10:21 By Liam Del Carme
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa nd amateur Jovan Rebula of South Africa pose with trophies after the South African Open at Randpark Golf Club on December 9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa nd amateur Jovan Rebula of South Africa pose with trophies after the South African Open at Randpark Golf Club on December 9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Louis Oosthuizen exorcised a few ghosts with his maiden win in the SA Open on Sunday.

His final round misadventure at last month’s Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC)‚ as well as last appearance at this course‚ left him with haunting memories.

At Sun City last month he looked set to put a difficult year behind him‚ but England’s Lee Westwood shot a miraculous eight-under final round to win the tournament.

“I played really well there‚” said Oosthuizen.

“I did everything to win but was outplayed by a brilliant last round by Lee and that hurt.

“You could see my last hole there when everything was drained out if me‚” said Oosthuizen about his errant drive and botched recovery shot that almost hit him.

“I was not happy with the result. I made sure this week I was focused.”

Following the last tournament he played at this course‚ he was also left to ponder what might have been.

“I played this golf course as an amateur the last time‚" he said.

"I remember I had a three or four-shot lead with nine holes to go and I was disqualified.

"We played placings the previous day and there weren’t.

"Our three-ball thought there were preferred lies.

"It is nice to have that lead again and pull it off this time‚” he said about his six-shot win over France’s Romain Langasque on Sunday.

The win elevated him into an elite club to have won The Open and the South African Open that includes only Bobby Locke‚ Gary Player‚ Bob Charles‚ Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson.

“To be the fourth South African to win the SA Open and the Open feels really‚ really special‚” beamed Oosthuizen.

Oosthuizen is mightily relieved that he has finally won a tournament he had coveted for some time. He has‚ however‚ been in self-imposed exile.

But he explained it’s family first.

“I haven’t played since 2011‚ I think‚" he said.

"It has always been in January and we do a family trip to Namibia.

"It (the scheduling) hasn’t worked out.

"I can’t play a tournament if I don’t prepare for it.

"This year we are not doing the trip for the first time in six years and the tournament has changed (dates). I had no reason not to play‚” he chuckled.

Oosthuizen explained his improved performance at Sun City and victory here came as a result of adjustments made away from the course.

He is back with his fitness trainer who has helped him get his body into ‘better positions’. “It’s easier on my back so that I can play more golf.

“I’ve also got a new coach‚ Justin Parsons‚ and we have been looking at stats and where my weaknesses are‚" he said.

"The last six‚ seven months has been about where I can do better.

"Not just going onto the range hitting balls and not knowing what you are working towards.

"It is great to see the results in a shortish period of time.”

Although he hasn’t had back problems for a while he almost misjudged the weight of the SA Open trophy.

“I thought I better put this down‚ it’s heavy‚” he said about the moment he hoisted the trophy.

The one regret he was about an almost flawless week was not having his family to share in the joy on the 18th green.

“When you’ve been through some stuff and the people who have been behind you aren’t here‚ it’s tough‚" he said.

"My wife and kids have been phenomenal and friends back home.

"I’m seeing everyone tomorrow and I’ll see them at Nelspruit Airport.

"It will be nice to see their faces and smiles.

"It would have been nice to see them at the 18th with me.

"Next year I’ll bring them up with me just to have them with me even if I don’t win.” 

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