Oosthuizen returns to Singapore

10/16/2012 5:14:28 AM

Major champion and World Number 12 Louis Oosthuizen is returning for another crack at the Barclays Singapore Open title after agonisingly missing out on the play-off last year.
The South African, winner of the 2010 Open Championship and runner-up in this year's Masters Tournament after a playoff with Bubba Watson, missed an eagle putt on the par-five 18th at Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course to finish a shot behind eventual winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan in the US$6 million tournament.

Fellow Major champions Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Michael Campbell of New Zealand have also confirmed their entries for the richest National Open in Asia from November 8-11, which is jointly sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian TOur.

They join a field spearheaded by World Number one Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, three-time winner Adam Scott of Australia and American superstar Phil Mickelson.

Oosthuizen shot a sizzling six-under-par 65 in the final round of the rain-shortened 54-hole tournament last year and fondly remembers his approach to the 18th, which gave him a chance of making the playoff.

“I certainly remember the three wood I hit into the last there, to about 10 feet, to give myself an opportunity to make the playoff, but I just missed the putt. Hopefully this year will be different,” recalled Oosthuizen, who settled for a share of third with American Anthony Kim.

“It’s a good track (Serapong Course). It's a really good golf course and the greens are nice. I'm really looking forward to it. I know it's only the one golf course this year, so that's good too.”

For the past two years Sentosa's Serapong and Tanjong Courses have been utilised for the tournament but this year only the former will be used.

Oosthuizen has enjoyed a stellar season with victories in January’s Africa Open and the Maybank Malaysian Open – the week after his play-off defeat at Augusta – and is hoping for more success as the European Tour’s Race to Dubai comes to a climax.

"I've had a good season. I'm very happy with the season, but it can always improve,” said Oosthuizen, who is sixth on the Race to Dubai, which is led by McIlroy.

"I'm still fighting. I want to get up in the world ranking - get to maybe sixth or seventh - and I've still got the Race to Dubai (in my sights).

"I know I'm quite a bit behind Rory still, but if I play well I've got a good shot. I need to get myself within probably 300,000 to 400,000 Euros to have a real chance."

Oosthuizen loves Singapore as a city and Sentosa Island as a venue for the Barclays Singapore Open.

“Singapore is great, I love it,” he said. “I'm staying on the island (Sentosa) at a really nice hotel and you've got Universal Studios just down the road so I'll definitely be bringing the family.”

Three-time Major winner Harrington came close to snaring the Barclays Singapore Open in 2008, finishing in joint second place with Ernie Els, a shot behind winner Jeev Milkha Singh of India.

Harrington is approaching the form that won him back-to-back Open Championship wins in 2007 and 2008 with top-10 finishes in the Masters and U.S. Open helping the world number 55 rise to 30th on the Race to Dubai.

Campbell, U.S. Open champion in 2005, is showing welcome signs of a resurgence with a third place finish in last week’s Portugal Masters, his best result for four years.

The Barclays Singapore Open is being joint-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour for the fourth consecutive year.