Oosthuizen wins Open at Home of Golf
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen tees off from the 18th tee en route to winning the British Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. - (Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters)
Golf – British Open:South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open Championship at St Andrews with an utterly dominant display over the weekend. He finished with a closing 71 to win on 16 under 272, a massive seven shots ahead of Lee Westwood.
Oosthuizen was a 200/1 rank outsider at the start of the week and this was the first time he made the cut in three previous British Opens let alone go on and win his first major.
Over the weekend he was the most composed player in the field and sure enough he delivered the goods when it mattered.
In the end Westwood had to settle for another runner-up finish as to took second outright after a closing 70 left the Englishmman on nine under 279.
Westwood's compatriot Paul Casey played alongside Oosthuizen in the final pairing but slipped off the pace with a 75.
Casey tied third on eight under alongside Rory McIlroy (68) and Sweden's Henrik Stenson (71).
The 27-year-old winner sank a short par putt at the 18th, took off his cap to acknowledge the thunderous applause from the crowd, hugged his caddie before embracing his wife and young daughter Jana.
"It's unbelievable, after the 12th hole it actually became difficult having such a big lead, to keep calm, and I'm glad I had those (spare) shots on 18 because I cramped a little with the putter," said Oosthuizen.
"It's just amazing."
Oosthuizen became the sixth South African major winner and the first to lift the Claret Jug since Ernie Els in 2002.
South Korea's Jin Jeong made sure of the Silver Medal for leading amateur, signing off in style with an eagle two at the 72nd hole for a 72 and a share of 14th on four under.
McIlroy set the place alight with a course record 63 on the opening day but his overnight lead was quickly undone with a second round 80 in horrendous conditions at the Home of Golf.
However the 21-year-old displayed great maturity and bounced back to battle like a champion over the weekend and secure his high finish.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about Friday walking up the last hole. This is definitely one I let get away from me,” reflected McIlroy after his final round.
“Apart from that round I played really well this week, didn’t do a lot wrong. I just didn’t deal with the conditions very well on Friday. Yeah, that was definitely the most disappointing thing about the week.
“Definitely a case of what might have been,” added McIlroy, who has still never shot in 70s in 13 competitive rounds played over the Old Course (12 in the 60s and that one round of 80).
Earlier US Open champion Graeme McDowell had a real mixed bag before he signed for a 70 to finish on three under 285.
The 30-year-old raced out of the blocks and got to five under by the time he reached the turn, courtesy of four birdies and just one dropped shot.
A fifth birdie came at the 10th after a superb approach to within two feet. And despite a dropped shot at the 12th he holed a monster 80 foot putt at 13 to get back to five under.
McDowell’s round came unstuck with a bogey at 16 before an uncharacteristic four putt at the Road Hole 17th for double bogey.
A birdie from four feet at the last left a better taste as he ended the week inside the top 25.
Colm Moriarty enjoyed a fine week as he closed out with a two under 70 to finish on one under 287. The Athlone golfer was joined by McIlroy's former Irish amateur team-mate Shane Lowry after his closing 75.
The Irish Open champion had been moving along nicely but dropped shots with a double-bogey at the 17th.
Darren Clarke signed for a 71 to get back to level par 288 by week's end and ensure all five Irish players who made it into the weekend finished on par or better.
Tiger Woods may have switched back to his trusty putter that served him so well in winning 13 of his 14 majors, but it wasn't enough to mount a final day challenge.
The world number one shot a closing 72 to end the week alongside McDowell on three under.
"I didn't win," was his curt response to what he thought of his week. "It was one of those weeks where I couldn't put it all together."
"I felt I played well enough to get into the top 10 but simply couldn't keep any momentum. The strange thing is I drove better than ever this week but it was one of the worst putting performances I've ever had."
Early birdies came at the first and third with holed putts from seven and five feet respectively. However Woods gave back the shots with untimely double-bogey sixes at the fourth and seventh. Three birdies and another bogey at 13 meant he slipped under the radar and away from the main spotlight.