Louis Oosthuizen won his eighth European Tour title with victory in the ISPS HANDA Perth International. He also continued South Africa’s domination of the early part of the 2016 European Tour.
Oosthuizen took a three-shot lead into the final round at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth and ran out a one-shot winner over France’s Alexander Levy after a closing 71 gave him a 16-under-par 272 total.
It is Oosthuizen’s first victory since the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions.
“It’s been two years since I had a win, so this is massive for me going into the season,” Oosthuizen said. “I’m flying tonight and playing Doral (the WGC–Cadillac Championship) next week so hopefully I can take a lot out of this and play well.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the diminutive South African. He saw his lead cut to just one shot early in the final round and had to dig deep to stay ahead.
“I missed the greens on the second and third and was a little rattled after that, but I settled in nicely and went back to just hitting greens and giving myself opportunities,” he said.
“I had a good stretch seven through to 12 and settled myself there.”
Oosthuizen stood on the 18th tee with a two-shot lead, so his three-putt bogey didn’t make any difference to the outcome.
Levy closed with a 66 to get into contention. Home favorite Jason Scrivner finished two shots behind Oosthuizen in third place. Peter Uihlein was chasing his second European Tour win. The 2010 US Amateur champion got within one of Oosthuizen but had to settle for a closing 71 to finish three shots off the pace. He tied for fourth with Gregory Bourdy, one of five Frenchmen to finish in the top 10.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open Champion, is the sixth South African winner in the first 11 events of the 2015/16 European season. He also moves back to fourth ahead of Branden Grace for South African wins on the European Tour. Only Ernie Els (28), Retief Goosen (14) and Charl Schwartzel (11) have more.
Oosthuizen’s form the last two years has been hampered by back problems. This win and his form so far this season suggests he’s pain-free. He warmed up for Australia with a seventh place finish in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and 12th in the Maybank Championship Malaysia.
Aside from his 2010 major win at St Andrews, Oosthuizen also has another three runner-up finishes in major championships. He lost a playoff for the 2012 Masters to Bubba Watson, finished a shot behind Jordan Spieth in last year’s U.S. Open before losing a playoff to Zach Johnson in the British Open.
Oosthuizen could be the man to watch in this year’s major championships.