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Golf | SA

A prosperous 2013 for Louis?



Two wins and more than €5 million (approximately R56 million) in earnings represents a mightily impressive 2012 for Louis Oosthuizen.

Of course, many South African golf fans will characterise his year by the heart-breaking defeat he suffered to the mercurial Bubba Watson in a playoff at the Masters.

But that memorable, yet disappointing day is not one that tells the full story of a year in which Oosthuizen consistently reaffirmed his class and finished sixth in the official world golf rankings.

Arguably the key to Oosthuizen’s success was his response to missing out at the Masters. As the sun went down over Augusta that Sunday evening, the 2010 Open champion packed his bag and made the gruelling trip east to Malaysia the next morning.

Six days later, he held the Maybank Malaysian Open trophy aloft after prevailing by three strokes. The title may not have held the prestige of the green jacket, but it was some display of getting back on the horse.

“That helped a lot. It didn't take away the pain of losing in a playoff, but it did help a lot to just get on with it and get to the next tournament,” a relaxed Oosthuizen noted.

“I think it was a good thing for me to go play immediately after and not take a month off. I was playing very well at that stage, and that meant a lot to do all that traveling and then still go out and win a tournament. I took a lot of positives out of it, and just carried on from there.”

And carry on he did. With the Africa Open trophy already in the bank too, he went on to record a further five top 10s on the European Tour, with a top-five at the DP World Tour Championship sealing a third place finish in the Race to Dubai standings.

That, coupled with a 34th-place finish in the Fedex Cup, helped the smooth-swinging 30 year-old to a career high of fifth in the world rankings at one stage, and he will thus be battling it out on both tours once again in 2013.

“I'm doing both tours again,” Oosthuizen said. “I will mostly play in America, but towards the end of the season I'll be more in Europe.”

“2010 has probably been a highlight season for me with winning The Open. Then it was disappointing with a few injuries, and last year was for me probably the season where everything sort of came together - almost getting a second major and coming very close in a few tournaments.

"But also getting two victories - it's been a good season for me. I played really well and I moved up in the world rankings, which is a big goal of mine, and I'm just going to try and build on that from last year,” he added.

Oosthuizen, who enjoyed a three-week holiday on his farm near Mossel Bay over the festive season, comes into this week’s Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club as the highest ranked player in the field, and the winner’s cheque of €250,000 would be spectacular way to kick off 2013.

But when quizzed about being one of the favourites for victory, Oosthuizen remained typically modest about his chances.

“Not really. I'm just going to go out and play, and like I say, I just haven't really played much golf. So I think there will be a few loose shots and a few rusty shots out there. But you know, luckily it's a golf course I'm familiar with,” he said.

Of course, the winner’s cheque isn’t the only prize Oosthuizen has his eyes on. Volvo have offered three hole-in-one rewards this week, and an ace at the 177-metre 15th hole will be enough to earn a Volvo Compact Excavator EC55.

And for Oosthuizen, who famously splashed out on a tractor with his 2010 Open winnings, the vehicle would make a fine addition to his farm equipment.

“I saw one of these on display during the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt. At the time I thought how useful one would be on my farm, so to have the chance of winning one myself is a fantastic incentive,” he smiled.

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