Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Louis Oosthuizen  (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)

A refreshed Louis Oosthuizen is looking to hit the ground running at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and turn his trademark January form into a second Major Championship victory.

The South African has a remarkable record in his first event of the calendar year, winning back-to-back Africa Opens in 2011 and 2012 and following that with consecutive wins at the Volvo Golf Champions in 2013 and 2014.

A sixth-placed finish at the WGC-Cadillac Championship got 2015 under way and provided the platform for a season where Oosthuizen finished in a tie for second at both The Open Championship and the US Open Championship.

After a festive break that included an annual family trip to the Namib Desert and "not playing golf", Oosthuizen feels he is in the right frame of mind for another good start to the year.

"I'm well rested," he said. "I didn't touch my golf clubs after the Nedbank Golf Challenge up until last week. Then the first round was very shaky, i didn't make a birdie I think, if I can remember. But then it picked up quickly.

"After a good break, you want to go back out on the golf course again. You want to play, and I think a lot of times with the schedules we have these days, you lose that a bit, to be hungry again just to go out and play. It doesn't matter what you shoot.

"I got a bit of that back again after a big break."

The 2010 Open Championship winner admits that coming so close to winning at St Andrews and Chambers Bay last year has made him more hungry for a second Major Championship, and he is hoping to improve his consistency.

"I'm always working on improving some parts of my game," he said. "This year I want to get more in contention in a lot more tournaments. I felt like I've made a big step in the last year in the right direction with my body, getting everything sorted.

I think now, it's get down to the golf and do more work. I had a taste of a second Major last year, and that really got me hungry to win a few more - Louis Oosthuizen

"Augusta is the first one, to get your game really sharp for that week.

"I think it's a bonus if you get to a Major week and your game is on top form. That's what everyone tries to get to, and the really top guys do it every week, they get their game sharp for big events.

"So still need to get myself to that level. I feel the biggest thing for me is still consistency, but I'm moving in the right direction."

Oosthuizen's countryman Branden Grace comes into this week as defending champion off the back of four top fives in his last five events, with the only result breaking that streak being a tie for eighth at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Grace is also a renowned fast starter, with four of his six European Tour wins coming in the first two months of the season, and Oosthuizen believes the World Number 11 could well the man to beat at a windy Doha Golf Club.

"Branden loves playing in windy conditions," he said. "He grew up with it, as well. We grew up close to each other back in South Africa and he obviously likes this golf course.

"So I'll never write him off; he's really become a player that's up there every week. He's a great putter. So if his ball-striking is on and he can find greens, he's always in contention. I won't be surprised to see him right up on the leaderboard from the start."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GRACE, BrandenRSA18-14
T2OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-12
T4DREDGE, BradleyWAL18-11
T4JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11

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