5 Things: Oosthuizen rebounds with Malaysia win
Sunday, April 15, 2012
How many players could lose a playoff for the Masters and come back and win the very next week? Not many. That was one of the most intriguing aspects of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
1. KING LOUIS: The Malaysian Open field suffered slightly because of being up against the Masters. Some top European Tour stars who might normally have made the trip took the week off. However, the tournament got the player they probably wanted most when Louis Oosthuizen honored his commitment to the event. He could have been forgiven for taking a week off after falling to Bubba Watson in a playoff for the Masters. The little South African showed his class with a three-shot victory. He was reminiscent of Bernhard Langer in 1991. The German missed a putt on the 18th hole at Kiawah Island that would have retained the Ryder Cup for Europe. He turned up the very next week under extreme pressure in his homeland and won the German Masters. No surprise Oosthuizen won – he has the same inner strength and belief as Langer.
"I was a little surprised to win here after that," Oosthuizen said. "I thought I would be a lot more tired. My golf was a bit up and down in the morning at the end of the third round, but I settled down and played well later."
2. THE FRUSTRATING GAME WITHIN THE GAME: If Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher had a putting stroke that matched his long game, he’d have more than just the one European Tour victory. Gallacher, nephew of Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, counts the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews as his only European Tour win. The Scot is known as one of the best ball strikers on the European Tour, but his putting doesn’t match his peerless swing. That was obvious in Malaysia, when he came up three short of Oosthuizen to finish runner-up for the second time this season following the Dubai Desert Classic. He now has eight top-3 finishes on the European Tour since 2001.
3. A 10 OUT OF 10: David Lipsky is enjoying a fantastic start to his debut season on the Asian Tour. The Los Angeles native finished joint third in the Malaysian Open, with four scores of 70 or better. In fact, the former Northwestern University student is 10-for-10 for his last 10 rounds. He hasn’t scored worse than 70 in each of those rounds. Lipsky won this year’s Asian Tour Q-School, crediting World No. 1 and fellow Northwestern alum Luke Donald for giving him advice via Twitter. He also won this year’s HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic and is currently second on the Asian Tour order of merit with over $200,000 in earnings. No wonder he gets top marks.
4. RAFAEL'S RISE: Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello took a step closer to playing in this year’s Ryder Cup with his third-place finish in Malaysia. Cabrera-Bello, winner of this year’s Dubai Desert Classic, is now 12th on the European Ryder Cup points list. Not many would be surprised if he made the trip to Chicago.
5. IGNOMINY FOR IGNACIO: While one Spaniard dreams of the Ryder Cup, another looks a million miles away from the form that earned him a place in the biennial match. Ignacio Garrido played in the 1997 match at Valderrama, earning three halve points over the first four sessions before suffering a 7 and 6 drubbing at the hands of Tom Lehman. Garrido won the German Open that year to earn his way onto the team. Victory in the European Tour’s flagship PGA Champion in 2003 seemed to signal a return to form, but he failed to capitalize on that victory. He certainly didn’t impress in Malaysia. Garrido started with rounds of 71-70, only to go 20 over for the final 36 holes with rounds of 81-89. That’s certainly not Ryder Cup form.