Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Louis Oosthuizen   (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)

Louis Oosthuizen is expecting a strong home challenge when the ISPS HANDA Perth International gets under way in Western Australia on Thursday.

The South African is making his first trip to Australia for the event, which returns to The European Tour International Schedule after a one-year break, and comes in as the highest ranked player in the field at 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking.

That ranking, plus a strong 12th-placed finish at the Maybank Championship Malaysia last week, means is the favourite, but he knows he will face a tough task.

Defending champion Thorbjørn Olesen and Ryder Cup star Victor Dubuisson are both in the field but Oosthuizen is expecting a big challenge from the Australian contingent, including last week's winner Marcus Fraser.

"Marcus won last week, so he'll be very tough this week to beat,"  he said. "You have Brett Rumford, who is a local boy, who I think will also have a good week. "

"It's very unpredictable, but I'm feeling quite good.

"It's a nice feeling going into it as the favourite for the week but you've got to play well. You've got to hit good shots and there's a lot of good guys in the field.

That's what makes golf I think different to any other sport. The favourite always wins in any other sport, but golf doesn't work that way - Louis Oosthuizen

The 2010 Open Championship winner missed the cut at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic but bounced back in Malaysia and is now hoping he can get his game to peak in time for the Masters Tournament in April.

"It's been a bit of a shaky start with the missed cut in Dubai," he said. "I played really nicely in Qatar. I didn't expect to play that badly the first two rounds in Dubai.

"I played okay last week. I still need to really improve to get my game to where I want it to be. The Masters is on everyone's mind now, so I've got a lot of work to get it right until then. I've got a few more tournaments to play. Hopefully something can spark this week.

"What everyone is trying to achieve is to get your game really sharp in a Major week. The top players have found the way to do that, to really come into a Major and be on form.

"I need to perform well to start the process of getting ready for Augusta."

Lake Karrinyup Country Club will provide a new challenge for Oosthuizen this week, and the 33 year old is enjoying his time in Perth.

"I'm having a good time," he said. "I really enjoy it. There's a lot of similarities to South Africa, just driving around in Perth.

"I like the golf course. It's definitely one where you can take it on off the tee and try and hit a few bombers down there, and then you've got to be really careful on your second shots. You've got to place yourself in the right spots.

"The greens look like they might firm up a little bit and they will be fast, which is good."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-16
2LEVY, AlexanderFRA18-15
3SCRIVENER, JasonAUS18-14
T4BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-13
T4UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-13
6WATTEL, RomainFRA18-12

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