South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen began 2013 in style by capturing the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club on Sunday. With the win, he climbed to a career high ranking of fourth in the world.
While the South African star claimed victory, with a round to play it had appeared that Scott Jamieson would register his second European Tour win in Durban in the space of just over a month. He entered the final round with a sizeable lead of five shots over Oosthuizen, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and France's Julien Quesne.
Oosthuizen responded with a final round of six-under-par 66, the equal lowest round of the day with Jamie Donaldson and Marcel Siem, while Jaidee posted a 68 and Quesne a 71. Jamieson, meanwhile, closed with a level-par 72. That left Oosthuizen the winner on 16-under-par 272, Jamieson second on 273 and Jaidee third on 274.
The victory was OosthuizenÂ’s seventh top-10 finish in his last eight events, and his fifth top-six finish in his last six European Tour tournaments, which underlines his consistency and shows why his world ranking is at an all-time high.
"It's a great start and I can only build from here," he told the Sunshine Tour. "I love starting in South Africa and the last two years have been really good, and I'm just glad I could start in the same way again," he added; in 2011 and 2012, Oosthuizen began his year with victories in the Africa Open in East London.
Oosthuizen said starting so far off the lead going into the final 18 holes was, strangely, a good thing: "When you start five behind, you don't have that much pressure. Once I got to the ninth and was one behind the crowd really got into it. By the time I got to the 12th, I was leading by one and it was great to see everyone get so pumped up," he explained.
Durban Country Club
Interestingly, every time the Durban Country Club has hosted a European Tour event, the tournament has been won by a South African: in 1996, Wayne Westner won the FNB Players Championship, Ernie Els won the South African Open in 1998 and 2011, and Tim Clark lifted the South African Open title in 2002 and 2005.
Defending champion Branden Grace finished 10th on 10-under-par 278. He was let down by an opening round of 75. After that, he showed fine form, carding 67, 69, and 67.
Ernie Els finished tied for 18th on seven-under 281, while Retief Goosen, in his return to action after undergoing back surgery, tied for 20th on six-under 282 after a consistent performance that produced rounds of 72, 70, 70, and 70.
Darren Fichardt finished on two-over 290 and Jbe Kruger on five-over 293.
European Tour in SA
The Volvo Golf Champions was the third European Tour event of six to be hosted by South Africa on the 2012/13 European Tour.
Previously, Scott Jamieson of Scotland won the Nelson Mandela Championships at the Royal Durban Golf Club, while Charl Schwartzel captured the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
The next South African event, the Africa Open, which is co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, tees off on 7 February at the East London Golf Club.
272 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) (-16) 68, 64, 74, 66
273 Scott Jamieson (Sco) (-15) 69, 64, 68, 72
274 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) (-14) 65, 68, 73, 68
276 Padraig Harrington (Ire) (-12) 70, 71, 67, 68
277 Danny Willett (Eng) (-11) 69, 70, 70, 68
277 Julien Quesne (Fra) (-11) 72, 67, 67, 71
278 Branden Grace (RSA) (-10) 75, 67, 69, 67
278 Paul Lawrie (Sco) (-10) 69, 70, 70, 69