Louis Oosthuizen was already the winner of a historic Open title, but on Sunday he claimed arguably a more meaningful one to the 36-year-old. With a closing 67 at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg, Oosthuizen posted a runaway six-stroke victory over France’s Romain Langasque at the South African Open, his home country’s oldest tournament.
“I wish the family was here,” said a tearful Oosthuizen, ending a nearly three-year winless drought. “The crowd was great this whole week, it was nice to do it for them.”
It was Oosthuizen’s eighth career European Tour triumph, four of which have come in events in South Africa. But this was the first time he’s won his country’s Open after playing in the event for the first time since a third-place finish in 2010.
With the victory at home, combined with his British Open triumph at St. Andrews in 2010, Oosthuizen became the sixth golfer to win both titles in their career, joining Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Bob Charles, Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson.
“I knew today was either going to be very special or heartbreaking. I know there’s only a few that have won the Open and the S.A. Open, so I’m very chuffed to have my name on this.”
Oosthuizen put himself in prime position for victory after an opening-round 62, his best score in a European Tour event in more than four years. While countryman Charl Schwartzel passed him after 36 holes, Oosthuizen's Saturday 67 allowed him to re-claim a three-stroke lead entering Sunday's final round. Bogeys on the second and third holes saw the lead shrink to one stroke, wayward tee shots looking like they might be Oosthuizen's undoing. But he regrouped with birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes. Another birdie after driving the green on the par-4 ninth hole let him make the turn with a comfortable five-stroke edge.
“We had a tough start today and my caddie just told me, ‘You’re swinging it well, just go for it.’ I just got back to basics, to try and hit fairways and greens. I know I’m putting well, I just needed to give myself putting opportunities for birdie.”
Watch Oosthuizen’s post-round interview and we bet you’ll wind up getting a little choked up yourself.
While Oosthuizen walked off with the title, runner-up Langasque earned a spot in next year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush with his finish, as did Schwartzel and Oliver Wilson, who tied for third.