• Volvo Golf Champions

Oosthuizen comes good to defend title

ESPN staff
January 12, 2014
Louis Oosthuizen trailed Branden Grace with two holes to play © Getty Images

Louis Oosthuizen began 2014 in style with the successful defence of his Volvo Golf Champions title in Durban, edging out fellow countryman and 2012 champion Branden Grace by a single shot.

Oosthuizen carded a final round of four-under par to finish the tournament top of the leaderboard at 12-under, with Grace also making 68 to finish out-and-out second.

Trailing Grace by one shot with two holes to play, Oosthuizen rallied to make successive birdies at the 17th and 18th. It is the fourth consecutive year that the South African has started with a win on home turf.

Overnight leader Tommy Fleetwood made a strong start to his final round on Sunday, capitalising on mistakes from his rivals, but three bogeys in five holes brought others back in contention.

Birdies at the 16th and 18th appeared to have sealed victory for Grace and when Oosthuizen found trouble at 16 once again, it looked ominous that the trophy would be switching between the hands of the South African duo.

However, a composed finish from Oosthuizen - including a terrific approach shot at 17 - saw him clinch the title at the last.

"It was nerve wracking there through the round but I knew once I turned on 14 I needed to make birdies and the birdie putt on the 15th felt crucial and I just missed it," Oosthuizen said. "And then something about the 16th tee shot got me this week.

"But fortunately I finished strong and I'm just happy that I got it done. I think the home crowd was really spurring us along and I saw Branden up there and I knew he wasn't going away.

"I thought he was probably going to get it to 12, but he made bogey somewhere. But I think we just love playing in South Africa."

Fleetwood finished third at 10-under overall with Joost Luiten, while Padraig Harrington tied for fifth with French pair Raphael Jacquelin and Victor Dubuisson.

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