A win at Randpark would put Oosthuizen in elite company

A win at Randpark would put Oosthuizen in elite company

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa during the day 3 of the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Golf Course on November 10, 2018 in Sun City, South Africa. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)

And a fine showing at the Nedbank Challenge suggests South Africa’s 36th world ranked player might very much be in contention.

SA’s Louis Oosthuizen has finished second in all four Majors to go with his 2010 Open Championship victory, and he will be looking to add the South African Open title to his ever-growing list of accolades when the tournament starts at Randpark Golf Course on Thursday.

Oosthuizen, 36, with a win would join an elite five-member list of players to have won the SA Open and The Open.

The five players are Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Bob Charles, Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson.

“That would be really something special. To have won The Open and the SA Open would be very special,” said Oosthuizen.

With the SA Open and the Joburg Open merging, it means a 240-player field will be teeing it up on the Firethorn and Bushwillow courses over the first two days.

The final two rounds after the cut for 70 players and ties will be played on Firethorn.

“This is a tough week. It’s all on how you start, how you get out of the blocks on Thursday and Friday. We all know the cut’s going to be really low, so you can’t really cruise from the start. You need to start well and play well and make sure you’re there by the weekend. Once you’re there, things change. Normally at some events, you can sort of find your way through Thursday and Friday and put yourself in a good spot. With all these players, you know you’ve got to come out an make a lot of birdies.

“I’m going to play Bushwillow today, so I don’t know if it’s a course you can go low on. I don’t remember much of it. I played it for the last time in about 2000 or 2001. The greens on Firethorn were running really nicely and they were nice and firm with not that much spin which is always nice. I hear that Bushwillow is a little softer, so you can expect the guys to attack it more.”

Oosthuizen finished third at the Nedbank Challenge a month ago behind England’s Lee Westwood who claimed victory, which means the player will be confident this week.

“My game’s good. It’s trending in the direction I want it to be. There’s still a lot of work to be done to really be where I want it to be, but I’ve been doing a lot of different things with my coach and just getting a feel for a few more things. I drove it pretty well at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. The putting was good. Iron play can improve, but all in all, it’s going in the direction I want it to go.”

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