Louis has perfect platform

2011-01-10 20:06

London - British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen has given himself a perfect platform to launch a twin assault on the 2011 US PGA and European tours by winning the Africa Open.

"It's a great way to start the season," said the 28-year-old South African, after beating Spain's Manuel Quiros and Chris Wood of Britain at the first hole of a play-off in East London on Sunday.

"This is my first European Tour title in South Africa and I'm quite ecstatic about that. Now I'm looking forward to the whole year, playing half in America and Europe ... hopefully contending on both money lists."

Oosthuizen decided to take up US PGA Tour membership following his shock win as a 200-1 long shot in the British Open at St Andrews in July.

His best previous finish in the US was a tie for ninth place at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio in August.

Lady luck smiled on world number 19 Oosthuizen when he came perilously close to driving out of bounds in Sunday's play-off, only to see his ball rebound from the rough into the fairway at the par-four 18th hole.

Terrible shot

"I hit a terrible tee shot, but it worked out well because I had a flat lie and could hit a full sand wedge," said the triple European Tour winner.

"I knew with a bit of spin I could get it close," added Oosthuizen after rolling in a 10-foot birdie putt to claim the first prize of €158 500.

The South African now leaves his native country for the European Tour's money-spinning Desert Swing, which starts in Abu Dhabi next week, before venturing into Bahrain, Qatar and finally Dubai.

While Oosthuizen was cock-a-hoop at his Africa Open victory, Wood was left to reflect on yet another near-miss in his search for a maiden win.

The Englishman has yet to score a breakthrough victory despite finishing in the top six on nine separate occasions, including twice at the British Open.

"I wasn't expecting much having not practised much with all the snow at home," said the 23-year-old Wood. "But when you're in a position to win it's disappointing not to do it.

"I didn't do much wrong and can't really fault myself but it just didn't happen for me."