King Louis reigns in South Africa
The final result shouldn’t be a surprise considering he was the favourite in the books, but Louis Oosthuizen picked up his tenth professional victory this morning in South Africa, winning the Volvo Golf Champions in his native South Africa. The win will actually move Oosthuizen two spots in the Official World Golf Rankings, jumping over Adam Scott and Justin Rose into 4th. It’s been a meteoric rise for Oosthuizen since winning the Open Championship in 2010. The man with arguably the sweetest swing in the game right now, who after winning a car in Friday’s pro-am asked tournament organizers to switch it out for an excavator, is now sitting behind only Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Tiger Woods in the OWGR.
It wasn’t the easiest win for Oosthuizen after firing a third round 74, with an ugly front nine 40. Scott Jamieson actually carried a five-shot lead going into the final round on Sunday, and considering his recent form with a win and a third place finish last month in South Africa, it should have been wrapped up for Jamieson. As we saw last year on the PGA Tour though, the 54-hole lead doesn’t guarantee anything. It was as much about Oosthuizen winning today as it was Jamieson losing it. Jamieson’s only real professional victory happened last month, and by the looks of things on Sunday, he never really looked comfortable with the lead, knowing that Oosthuizen was chasing after a front nine 32. Oosthuizen was in the clubhouse with a two-shot lead, watching as Jamieson approached the 18th, needing an eagle to force a playoff. Jamieson nearly holed out from the gallery, leading to an easy tap-in birdie, but it wasn’t enough, as Oosthuizen held on for a one-shot victory. Jamieson will be fine in the long run, and he’s got his 2013 schedule off to a great start with a win and two other top-5’s. For Oosthuizen, who blew three 54-hole leads himself last season, it’s obviously the exact result he wanted to start his year.
Other notes on Oosthuizen courtesy of the European Tour:
- Oosthuizen’s form has really been on point recently. The win gives him his fifth top-six in his last six events.
- It’s the third consecutive season in which Oosthuizen has won the first event of his season.
- His first come from behind victory.
A few final thoughts on the event:
- Nicolas Colsaerts is a freak of nature. When people think of the longest hitters in golf, the players that immediately come to mind are Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson, but the Belgian Bomber is the current kingpin when it comes to driver distance. Last year, Colsaerts averaged 318.3 yards off the tee, and he put that on display in Thursday’s opening round. The below image comes from the par-5 3rd hole. For the record, both him and Ernie Els made birdie, so it wasn’t a massive advantage for Colsaerts.
Belgian Golfer (@BelgianGolfer) January 10, 2013
- Thongchai Jaidee, who was right up there with Oosthuizen and Jamieson all week, actually held up pretty well. It’s his first top-10 finish in the last two years when he’s been in the top-10 after the opening round. It seems like a random stat, but when you’re 0-9 in that regard previously, it’s a nice thing to be able to hold up for four consecutive days.
- I touched on this in my tournament preview, but I was really interested to see how Thorbjorn Olesen performed this week, seeing as how it was going to be the first event he played with new Nike gear. We saw Kyle Stanley struggle with that in Hawaii last week, and it looked to get Olesen too. His rounds of 75-72-74-71 placed him third last in the field, ahead only of Jbe Kruger and Jose Maria Olazabal. Olesen’s too good to be affected by this for long, but at least he’s having some fun with it:
Some good work on the range after the round! You can easy say that I needed it also 🙂—
Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) January 12, 2013
- After a tough start with an opening round 74, Paul Casey rebounded nicely with three consecutive 69’s. After ending last season with some solid performances, Casey could finally be getting some of his form back. He’s one to watch this year. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that he was ranked inside the top-10 in the world.
- The same goes for Matteo Manassero, who started tough but finished with three rounds under par and picked up a T-9. The 19-year old is the best young player in the world not named McIlroy.
Speaking of McIlroy, he’ll be in the field next week along with Tiger Woods in Abu Dhabi for the HSBC Golf Championship. The TV coverage in North America starts Wednesday night at 10:00 PM ET on Golf Channel.