European Tour

Oosthuizen retains Volvo title

Louis Oosthuizen (Gallo Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Gallo Images)

Durban - Louis Oosthuizen has held off a spirited challenge from compatriot and 2012 winner Branden Grace to produce two sensational birdies to finish with a flourish and claim his second Volvo Golf Champions title at Durban Country Club on Sunday.

The 2010 Open champion posted a four-under-par 68 to set the target at 12-under-par 276 and finished a shot clear of Grace, who had birdied the 18th a few minutes earlier and whose 68 provided a glimmer of hope for a play-off decider.

Oosthuizen was not to be denied, although he admitted Grace's presence up ahead was a huge motivating factor.

"I knew Branden was going to make a charge and I saw him up there early, and Thomas (Aiken) started off really well," Oosthuizen said.

South Africans won all six European Tour events previously staged at the Durban layout, but for the last three years.

Oosthuizen has won on his first European Tour start of each calendar year -- the Africa Open in 2011 and 2012, and the Volvo Golf Champions last year.

The Mossel Bay pro was two shots behind third-round leader Tommy Fleetwood from England at the start of the final round, while Grace --seven shots back after an opening 74 -- had made up ground on the front runners and began the final round three off the pace.

While Fleetwood's title chase in the blustery conditions went into a backward slide with bogeys at the fifth, seventh and ninth, Oosthuizen just motored along with seven consecutive pars and it was Grace who reeled in three birdies from the sixth to hit the front.

Fleetwood stemmed the bleeding with a birdie at the 10th and Oosthuizen dropped a shot at the 10th to give Grace some breathing room at the top.

Although the four-time European Tour champion dropped a shot at the 15th, he boxed a 35-footer for birdie at the 16th and holed another tester at the 18th to set the early target at 11 under.

Oosthuizen took a seven at the 16th in the first round and he was in trouble again at the par-four.

"I had another terrible tee shot and I was lucky I could chip out," said Oosthuizen, who battled his way back to the fairway for a second time.

"I nearly made a great par. I saw Branden made birdie on 18. I hit a two-iron off the tee and when I stood over the ball on 17, I knew that the second shot was crucial to give myself a good birdie opportunity.

"I hit a sandwedge from 119 meters to about 35-foot and made the putt. At 18, everyone thinks you just need to make a birdie, but around that green, it's not easy.

"Luckily I was far enough where I could pitch it back into the grain and I could get it close."

Scores after the final round of the $4 million (2.94m euros) Volvo Golf Champions event on Sunday at the Durban Country Club (GBR & IRL unless stated, par 72):

276 - Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 68 69 71 68
277 - Branden Grace (RSA) 74 67 68 68
278 - Joost Luiten (NED) 70 67 70 71, Tommy Fleetwood 70 67 69 72
279 - Padraig Harrington 71 71 70 67, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 67 73 70 69, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 69 69 69 72
281 - Thomas Aiken (RSA) 72 72 70 67, Julien Quesne (FRA) 74 73 66 68
283 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 79 68 67 69, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 72 67 73 71, Brett Rumford (RSA) 73 70 68 72
284 - Morten Orum Madsen (DEN) 71 74 69 70, Jamie Donaldson 71 71 68 74
285 - Marcel Siem (GER) 70 71 72 72, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 76 70 67 72, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 74 69 68 74
286 - Chris Wood 70 71 71 74
287 - Gonzalo Fernandez Castano (ESP) 74 73 71 69, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 73 73 69 72, Paul Casey 72 75 65 75
288 - David Lynn 71 74 72 71, Jin Jeong (KOR) 73 76 68 71
289 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 75 74 71 69, David Howell 76 69 71 73, Colin Montgomerie 70 74 69 76, Darren Clarke 69 71 72 77
291 - Richard Sterne (RSA) 72 73 73 73
292 - Stephen Gallacher 73 74 72 73, Michael Hoey 72 73 73 74
293 - Simon Thornton 70 72 80 71
294 - Robert Karlsson 74 72 73 75
295 - Dawie Van der Walt (RSA) 71 71 75 78
296 - Peter Uihlein (USA) 70 78 70 78
297 - Darren Fichardt (RSA) 73 71 74 79
300 - Jose Maria Olazabal (ESP) 73 77 77 73

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Baroka FC 0
Bloemfontein Celtic 1
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England 219 & 66/1 (26.6 ov, target 277)
Pakistan 326 & 169
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England 219 & 66/1 (26.6 ov, target 277)
Pakistan 326 & 169
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