Louis Oosthuizen’s clinical three shot triumph at the Maybank Malaysian Open was even more impressive considering the disappointment of having narrowly missed out on victory at the Masters Tournament just a week previously.
We find out what it took the 29 year old to conquer his physical and psychological ills to secure a fifth European Tour title, and delve into his bag to explore the tools that helped him complete the job.
The 2010 Open Champion fell just short of securing a second Major title in Augusta two weeks ago after succumbing to American Bubba Watson in the second sudden-death play-off hole, but the South African overcame that frustration and indeed the travel-induced jetlag of a 30 hour journey from Georgia to Malaysia to cruise to victory at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
“It was a good week for me,” he said. “Obviously it was a disappointment for me last week in what happened but I knew I could do it this week. I knew it was going to be a tough week with the jetlag but I also felt the game was there. I’m over the moon with the result.
“I played well all week and I just knew I needed to not get ahead of myself, get some scores on the board, stay up there, and try to finish strong on the back nine because there are a lot of birdie opportunities out there.”
And Oosthuizen did just that. Having completed the final eight holes of a weather-delayed third round early on Sunday morning in level par, the Mossel Bay born man took a slim one shot lead over Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher into the final 18 holes, eventually carding five birdies and just the one bogey in a four under par 68 to scoop the €314,700 first prize.
“I was a bit tired this morning,” he admitted. “But it was great that we kept straight on, we just had 20 minutes break, went straight back on and in a way that was beneficial as it helped keep the momentum going.”
Four consecutive rounds in the 60s left Oosthuizen with a stroke average for the tournament of 67.75 – more than four under par per round on average over the week – figures indicative of a man in form, although he acknowledged that only a future victory in the Masters could truly erase the painful memories from Augusta.
Oosthuizen, however, remains confident of following his good friend Charl Schwartzel – the 2011 Masters Champion – into the Butler Cabin and still believes his Masters time will come.
“I think the only way I will get over the Masters will be by putting on a Green Jacket,” he said. “I will, I know I will, but this victory gives me a bit more confidence in general and the experience last week gives me even more desire to succeed at Augusta in the future.
“I still had a great week last week, I didn’t feel like I blew it or threw it away. Bubba played unbelievable.”
Moreover, Oosthuizen saw competing in Malaysia as an opportunity to test out his psychological resolve and mental toughness by getting straight back in the saddle.
He said: “Coming here I wanted to prove to myself I could bounce straight back from something like that and I am very happy with the way I played. I’m just waiting for that US one now…”
Oosthuizen’s golf didn’t appear to suffer any sort of Masters hangover in the Malaysian capital, certainly, ranking favourably across the board in the Genworth Statistics for the Malaysian Open.
Perhaps most impressively he managed to find an average of almost 82 per cent of the Greens in Regulation (ranking him fourth in the category against the field) despite having only hit just over 60 per cent of fairways throughout the week – a testament to the superb iron and wedge play of one of the smoothest swingers on Tour.
Here is what he had in his bag:
|Ball ||Titleist, Pro V1 X (07)|
|Driver||Ping, Rapture V2 - 9°|
|1st Fairway Wood||TaylorMade, RBZ Tour - 13°|
|2nd Fairway Wood||TaylorMade, RBZ Tour - 17°|
|3 - 9 Iron ||Ping, S56|
|Pitching Wedge||Ping, Tour-S - 47°|
|Sand Wedge||Ping, Tour-S - 54°|
Ping, Tour-S - 60°
|Putter||Ping, Scottsdale ZB S|