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Golf | SA

Louis Oosthuizen © Gallo Images

Oosthuizen dreams big in Big 5 country

Louis Oosthuizen heads into this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at a career high of fifth on the world ranking. And he admits that he’s now started to dream of becoming world No 1.

Oosthuizen may have lost a playoff for the Masters and not converted the many chances he had into more victories this year. But he has gained the kind of consistency that the world’s top players seek, and which has seen him rise into the top five in the game.

“It’s been a good season. It would’ve been great to pull Augusta off, but I’m happy with the season. I gave myself chances almost every week and the consistency is something I’ve been working on,” he said at Leopard Creek on Wednesday, which borders the Kruger National Park – home to Africa’s Big Five.

Having risen this high on the world ranking, it’s only logical that his thoughts should turn to the No 1 position. But Oosthuizen admits it will be a difficult task unseating Rory McIlroy.

“I always try and set goals, but not unreachable ones. I think at the moment, where Rory is now, it’s going to be one hell of a task. If I give myself a bit of time, I think I’ve got a chance. But saying that, he’s not going to stop. It’s going to be a tough task for anyone to get the No 1 spot off him. That’s not being negative. It’s just realistic at the moment. He’s probably going to win another two or three Majors in the next three or four years. It’s going to have to be a really good year for one of us and a not so great year for him for us to even get close. It’s a big task, but you know, there’s always a chance. The goal is probably to get to No 2 and then see what you can do from there.”

Oosthuizen also plays down any talk of a rivalry between himself and McIlroy. “We’re quite good friends. He’s such a good guy. But no, I don’t think about any rivalry. When you’re on the golf course, you just think about golf and not anything that’s being written about you.”

In terms of his own game, Oosthuizen is hoping he can hole more putts this week and sign off the year with a victory on home soil.

“I’ve been putting beautifully, but every week there’s just something I’m struggling with on the greens, like not finding the speed or the line. I feel like I’m hitting good putts, but for some reason I like to find the lips on the holes.

“But I feel good about this week. It’s great playing in front of your home fans. I always feel that if you can finish the season with a win in your home country, it always makes it that much better. It’s great being back home and hearing Afrikaans in the galleries. I feed off that.”


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