Oosthuizen Overcomes Schwartzel In Final-Round Duel In South Africa

MALELANE, South Africa (AP) — Louis Oosthuizen came out on top in his final-round duel with close friend and fellow South African Charl Schwartzel to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Monday for his first European tour title in five years.

Oosthuizen closed with a 3-under 69 to win by two strokes, but only after a nervy finish that saw him make bogey at No. 17 and roll in a long par putt at the par-5 18th hole after hitting his drive into water.

“Just got lucky on this one,” said the 2010 British Open champion, who finished on 18-under 270.

The climax to the tournament was pushed back a day after much of Sunday’s play was wiped out because of stormy weather.

Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, major champions and friends since their days playing junior golf, resumed on the eighth hole in a tie for the lead — three strokes clear of their nearest challenger, Christiaan Bezuidenhout — and with puddles dotted around the course at Leopard Creek Country Club because of heavy rain on Sunday.

They were still tied with six holes to play, when Oosthuizen made birdies from 10 feet, 30 feet and 6 feet to move into a three-shot lead.

He gave one back on No. 17 and arrived at the 72nd hole with a two-stroke lead over Schwartzel, only to push his tee shot into a water hazard. He took a drop, chipped into the fairway and hit his fourth shot to about 25 feet, with Schwartzel on the green for a birdie opportunity from closer in.

However, Oosthuizen holed his putt and pumped his fist, knowing he’d claimed a 10th win on the European tour and a first since the South African Open in December 2018.

Schwartzel, who was looking to win the event for a fifth time, shot 71 and finished in second place, two strokes clear of Bezuidenhout.

“I knew I needed to play well — Charl plays really well around this place,” Oosthuizen said. “I made a few putts there in the middle of the round and got ahead of Charl. I was in between what to do on 18, and made five the hard way.”

It means the tour’s three season-opening events in South Africa were all won by home players, with Dean Burmester triumphing in both the Joburg Open and the South African Open Championship.

Oosthuizen and Burmester are both players in the Saudi-funded breakaway LIV Golf series.

There is another tournament in Africa — the Mauritius Open starting Thursday — before the tour takes a break until mid-January ahead of events in the Gulf region.