Oosthuizen wins 3-way playoff in South Africa

Louis Oosthuizen kisses the trophy after winning the 2011 Africa Open.

Louis Oosthuizen kisses the trophy after winning the 2011 Africa Open.

EAST LONDON, South Africa – British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen won a three-way playoff on the first hole to secure the Africa Open title at the East London Golf Club Sunday.

The South African finished the final round at 16-under 276 and sank a 12-foot birdie on the 18th to dash the hopes of Chris Wood of England and Manuel Quiros of Spain.

It was Oosthuizen’s first victory since the British Open at St. Andrews in July.

“It’s a great way to start the season. This is my first European Tour title in South Africa and I’m quite ecstatic about that,” Oosthuizen said. “I’m looking forward to the whole year, playing half in America and Europe. I’m looking forward to contending on both money lists.”

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa posted a final-round 70 to finish tied for fourth alongside countryman Jaco van Zyl and Steven O’Hara of Scotland at 15 under.

Oosthuizen struggled with his control off the tee throughout the early going Sunday, but managed to find his touch on the 545-yard 15th. A solid and straight drive set up an 8-iron to the green. From there Oosthuizen sank a 15-footer for eagle and a share of the lead.

“I got the line right for once,” Oosthuizen said.

His waywardness off the tee returned on the playoff hole when he hooked his drive left. However, the South African salvaged the hole with an approach to within 12 feet.

Quiros’ chip from the fringe for birdie was unsuccessful and Wood’s 25-footer narrowly missed the hole, leaving Oosthuizen to hole out and take the win.

Joint overnight leader Markus Brier of Austria shot a final-round 73 and finished three shots back in a six-way tied for eighth.

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