Oosthuizen swings into SA golf history

2012-04-14 19:07

Louis Oosthuizen wrote a piece of history in his golfing career by becoming the first South African to score a sought-after albatross at the US Masters at St Augusta National, Georgia, last week.

What is an albatross? This, in golf terms, is when a player registers a score of 3 under par for a par-5 hole. It is mostly referred to as a double eagle on a par-5.

This achievement is very rare in professional golf, and even the most accomplished of players in the world have failed to achieve this mean feat.

Not even Tiger Woods, who won three Masters during his illustrious career a few years ago, could score it.

But Oosthuizen, coming into the final round of this lucrative competition, unleashed a four-iron that saw his second shot land on the second green before it slowly rolled its way into the hole – much to the rapturous applause from the wild gallery.

In doing so, he became the fourth player in the history of the Masters – since it started in 1934 – to sink an albatross.

Before then, the last player to do so was American Jeff Magget at the par-5 13th hole in the final round in 1994.

Gene Sarazen, also from the US, was the first player to reach this milestone in the last round in 1935. He reached the hole with a four-wood at the par-5 15th hole.

Australia’s Bruce Devlin followed suit at the par-5 8th hole in the first round in 1967.

Players usually reach the hole through eagles and birdies, but Oosthuizen firmly made his mark by upping the ante last Sunday. Playing with the eventual winner, American Bubba Watson, Oosthuizen shot to minus 10 to lead the event by two strokes before losing to the same man in the play-offs.

He forfeited the prestigious Green Jacket that was first issued in 1949.

In notching this rare score, Oosthuizen also became the first Masters contestant to net an albatross on the second hole, which is perceived as being one of the most treacherous on the course.

His total earnings from the Masters was R6.7 million.

Oosthuizen is currently in Kuala Lumpur, where he is playing in the Malaysian Open. The final round is tonight.

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