Oosthuizen searching for Masters bid

If you need a reason to pay attention to the Andalucia Open this weekend (and, unless you’re the rare diehard European Tour fan, I’m sure you do), then consider the plight of Louis Oosthuizen. It’s a story of redemption. Don’t we all love those?

Oosthuizen, a 27-year-old South African, needs to win this week’s Andalucia Open to earn a Masters invitation. He’s tied for the 36-hole lead with Sam Hutsby, a member of last year’s Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup squad.

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Louis Oosthuizen is tied atop the Andalucia Open leaderboard with Sam Hutsby heading into the weekend.

Oosthuizen entered the final round of last week’s European Tour event (the Trophee Hassan II) with a two-stroke lead. He led after an eagle on the par-5 12th in the final round, but made two bogeys over his final six holes and finished two behind Rhys Davies.

Oosthuizen is now No. 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He can only crack the top 50 with a victory. The top 50 in the world after this week earn Masters invitations.

Had Oosthuizen won last week, he’d have moved to No. 51 in the world, and could’ve earned a Masters invitation with just a solid finish this week.

Now a win is his only way to Augusta National (outside of buying a badge, of course, but apparently those are in short supply).

Regardless of what happens this weekend, Oosthuizen is another good young South African that’s worth paying attention to, in the ilk of Charl Schwartzel. He’s a five-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, but has yet to win on the European Tour (or is “yet to break his duck,” as the tour’s site says. Gotta love Europe.).

Oosthuizen has finished in the top 3 in three of his past four starts. He was runner-up against strong fields in Abu Dhabi and Qatar in ’09.

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