Classy Oosthuizen wins Maybank Malaysian Open by three shots

Kuala Lumpur, April 15 – South African star Louis Oosthuizen won the Maybank Malaysian Open with a classy performance at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, closing with a four-under-par 68 to claim the Seagram Trophy by three shots from Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher.

Louis Oosthuizen 

After finishing eight holes of his third round in the morning due to yesterday’s rain interruption, Oosthuizen took a one-shot lead over Gallacher into the final 18 and clung on to the advantage all day. He pulled clear over the closing stretch as his main challengers faltered, leaving himself a three-shot advantage with just the par five 18th to play.

Although Oosthuizen sent his second shot left of the green with his ball nestled in deep rough behind a bunker, the result was never really in doubt and he calmly pitched 25 feet past the flag. He almost sank his birdie putt and tapped in for par and the win.

Oosthuizen’s winning total of 17-under-par 271 (66-68-69-68) was all the more impressive as the 29-year-old had to endure a 30-hour flight from Augusta to Kuala Lumpur, as well as shrug off the memories of his heartbreaking playoff loss to Bubba Watson in the Masters last Sunday.

“I’m a little bit surprised because I thought I would be tired. I played well and the game was there so that made it a lot easier,” said the 2010 British open champion. “It would have been better if I had the Green Jacket! But I had a good week last week and I’m looking forward to the next Major.”

“Coming here and winning after what happened last week showed me that I can pull it off so it’s very important. I think my win at the British Open has helped me get my game to where it is at the moment. I have been working quite a bit with my coach and we have been trying to get my game to where we want it to be,” added Oosthuizen, who picked up US$416,660 for his fifth European Tour title and first win in Asia.

Gallacher, a one-time winner on the European Tour, rued signing for a higher score for his third round as he eventually settled for his second runner-up finish of the season.

“I went over the card, thought I signed it properly. Signed for a 69 when I shot a 68. I thought I was tied for the lead, and then I was one behind but luckily it didn’t affect me that much. It’s one of those things that you learn,” said the 37-year-old Gallacher, who got to within one shot of the champion on the back nine.

Stephen Gallacher

“Phenomenal performance (by Oosthuizen) considering coming off from last week. I thought he may get tired today and obviously he didn’t. He’s a fit guy. Fair play to him. He played great. He was on form.”

Englishman Danny Willett, David Lipsky of the USA and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello tied for third on 271, one shot clear of 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.

Lipsky’s career has been on the upswing since winning the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January which subsequently led him to his maiden professional victory in Cambodia last month. He was three shots off the pace entering the final round but failed to keep up with a  surging Oosthuizen.

“It’s been great. I’ve been pretty consistent off the tee and my putter has been cooperating with me. Those two things combine really help. This is probably my 10th straight round under par. I can’t believe where I’m at right now. I’m so happy. The hard work has paid off,” said the 23-year-old Lipsky.

Defending champion Matteo Manassero of Italy closed with a 69 for a share of seventh place on 279 with German star Martin Kaymer, South African Hennie Otto and France’s Romain Wattel.

Jyoti Randhawa

Best Asian honours went to Indians Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa in joint 11th spot on 280. Randhawa was in contention after the third round and stayed in touch for much of the final round, but saw his challenge derailed by a double bogey and triple bogey on holes 13 and 14.

“If you take those two (bad) shots away then I would have finished higher. At least I know why those bad shots came because the old swing came in. I birdied after those shots so that was a good comeback. All in all I think I’m feeling good. I just need to give it a little bit more time,” said Randhawa.

Singh, a two-time Order of Merit winner in 2006 and 2008, got off to a flying start with four straight birdies to move into contention but three bogeys in the middle of the round and a double bogey on 16 killed his hopes.

“I had a great start. I think I got ahead of myself and gave a few shots away. I thought I got really unlucky on 16, I hit a great shot in there but it rolled into the water. That set me back and I shot even par. Hopefully it gets better from here,” said Singh.

Malaysia’s Shaaban Hussin closed with a 73 for a share of 57th spot on two-over-par. He was the only Malaysian from 22 who started to make the halfway cut.

Results (Top 10 and ties)

271 – Louis OOSTHUIZEN 66-68-69-68

274 – Stephen GALLACHER 67-68-69-70

276 – Danny WILLETT 69-69-67-71, David LIPSKY 70-67-69-70, Rafael CABRERA-BELLO 67-72-66-71

277 – Charl SCHWARTZEL 64-75-70-68

279 – Martin KAYMER 70-67-71-71, Hennie OTTO 71-64-72-72, Romain WATTEL 68-68-72-71, Matteo MANASSERO 70-72-68-69

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