Oosthuizen retains Africa Open title

East london, South Africa: South African Louis Oosthuizen retained his Africa Open title, holding his nerve at the decisive 17th to complete a two-stroke win on Sunday.

Oosthuizen carded a final round six-under par 67 to end on 27-under par for the co-sanctioned tournament just ahead of his countryman Tjaart van der Walt who completed a final round 69.

The 29-year-old Oosthuizen, who won the 2011 edition of the Africa Open after a three-man playoff, made a mixed start to his final round with an eagle, a birdie and two dropped shots in his first five holes.

But he made three birdies between the sixth and ninth holes to reach the turn in 25-under and a share for the lead with Van der Walt before grabbing another birdie on the par-five 11th.

The first three days of the tournament had seen sunny skies and barely a breath of wind but day four provided overcast conditions and a blustery wind which made scoring slightly more difficult than it had been on the coastal course, especially for the late starters.

By the 17th Van der Walt and Oosthuizen, who began the day as co-leaders, were locked in an enthralling struggle both on 26-under.

But Van der Walt bogeyed the 164-yard hole after his tee shot failed to find the green while Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open Champion, showed all his experience to sink a 35-foot birdie putt.

"The 17th was playing really tough today with the wind blowing off the right," Oosthuizen told reporters.

"When Tjaart hit it short I aimed for the middle of the green. I had been leaving my putts short all day but I hit it firmly and it rolled really nicely."

The two-shot swing effectively signalled the end of Van der Walt`s challenge leaving the 37-year-old journeyman still searching for his first professional win after 10 second-place finishes.

Oosthuizen said: "It was great to see Tjaart play to his potential. He is one of those players that won`t go away. He is too consistent for that."

The victory was Oosthuizen`s fourth on the European Tour and made him the early front-runner in this year`s Race to Dubai as he pocketed the winner`s cheque of 158,500 euros.

South African Retief Goosen finished in third place, three shots off the pace, after a final round of 69.

Bureau Report