European Tour

Oosthuizen to play first Irish Open in a decade

Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Louis Oosthuizen has announced that he will play the Irish Open for the first time since 2009, with the former Open Champion earmarking Lahinch Golf Club as the perfect place to hone his links skills ahead of the final Major of the 2019 season in Northern Ireland.

The South African joins 2018 Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood, former Masters champion Danny Willett and former world No 1 Lee Westwood in the field for the second Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai.

Home heroes Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry have also confirmed their participation in the event, which is hosted by 2014 Ryder Cup winning captain Paul McGinley.

Lahinch Golf Club, perched on the famous Wild Atlantic Way coast of Ireland, is set to host a unique festival of golf, with a world class field preparing to enjoy a unique and incredible atmosphere with the popular tourist village of Lahinch literally on the doorstep of the famous links course.

Oosthuizen last played the Irish Open in 2009, a year before he famously lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews courtesy of a seven-stroke victory, becoming just the fourth South African player to win the Open Championship after Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Ernie Els.

The world No 20 is something of a links expert, having come agonisingly close to a second Open title at St Andrews in 2015 as he lost out in a three-way play-off to Zach Johnson.

The 36-year-old has also enjoyed some form on an Irish coastal venue, having claimed a top five finish in the Irish Open at Co. Louth Golf Club in 2007. Oosthuizen will enter this summer high on confidence after coming close to a maiden PGA Tour triumph at the Valspar Championship last week.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back to Ireland and playing links golf again," said Oosthuizen.

"It'll be three weeks of links golf. Playing in America, you lose the feel of links golf and you need a proper links course to get those low, running shots back.

"I'll be over there in Ireland for three weeks and I'll have the family with me, so it'll be fun. I'll spend the week playing links golf, the week in between taking a break with the family, drive around Ireland, go along the West coast all the way up to Portrush. It should be fun.

"I don't know much about Lahinch - I spoke to Paul about it and he's really been telling me what he's trying to achieve and how the golf course will look. It's great seeing Paul be really passionate about the tournament. He's emailing me a lot and talking to me about it and I'm really looking forward to going."

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England 92/4 (28 ov)
Pakistan 326
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