Oosthuizen eyes strong finish after below-par 2011

San Martin (California): Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen never thought he would play in the PGA Tour`s Fall Series but those plans swiftly changed after a disappointing 2011 campaign in the United States.

The 28-year-old South African failed to qualify for the elite FedExCup playoffs and has had to add two more PGA Tour events to his schedule for the minimum total of 15 required to maintain his card for next season.

"It`s been a very disappointing year," Oosthuizen told Reuters at CordeValle Golf Club on Wednesday while preparing for this week`s Frys.com Open, the second of four events in the Fall Series.

"The minute I felt like I was playing nicely, I had a few injuries and then whenever I`ve felt like playing pretty decent golf, I just couldn`t get on a run. Hopefully I can finish strong and next year will be better.”

"After this (the next two Fall Series events), I am heading to China (and Asia) to play quite a few European Tour events over there so I`ve still got a lot of tournaments left for my 2011 season."

Oosthuizen, who clinched his first major title with a crushing seven-shot victory in last year`s British Open at St. Andrews, has struggled for consistency this season.

Although he won his second European Tour title at the Africa Open in January, he has posted only one top 10 in 13 starts on the PGA Tour -- a tie for ninth at the U.S. Open in June.

"My form has been pretty rough," Oosthuizen said. "I struggled with a little back injury at the Canadian Open but I think my main problem has been more mental than anything else.”

"Plus, this year is the first time that I have played both tours and I`ve found it difficult sometimes with the travelling backwards and forwards," he added, referring to the PGA and European tours.

"Hopefully next year will be a bit easier, knowing which events to play."

Asked what he would specifically change in his tournament schedule for next year, Oosthuizen replied: "Not that much really, probably try and play a few more stretches over here in the States.”

"I need to play three or four weeks in a row and not just come over here for just one or two events. Once I get that right in my schedule, it should help a lot."

Oosthuizen, who will tee off in Thursday`s opening round with Americans Tiger Woods and Patrick Cantlay, was given a timely boost by his fifth place in the European Tour`s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland last week.

"It was nice to play St. Andrews again," he said. "I played with my brother, which was good, and it brought back a lot of good memories from the British Open. I like the course, the history -- everything about St. Andrews.

"Actually I didn`t play that well over the weekend. I left so many birdies out there on the course and I struggled with the putter a bit. But, all in all, I`m quite happy with that performance. I`m really looking forward to this week."

Oosthuizen, Woods and Cantlay are scheduled to tee off at 12:10 p.m. local time (1610 GMT) on Thursday.

Bureau Report

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