European Golf Tour
Oosthuizen finally gets first European Tour win



Malaga, Spain (Sports Network) - After four runner-ups, including last week, Louis Oosthuizen finally collected his first European Tour victory on Sunday at the Open de Andalucia de Golf.

Oosthuizen shot a three-under 67 on Sunday and captured the title at 17-under 263 at Parador de Malaga Golf. He won by three strokes after a long wait for that elusive first trip to the winner's circle.

"It's unbelievable," said Oosthuizen, 27. "I was trying to keep my confidence. I knew I was good enough to win one. Last week, I was a bit disappointed. This stage today I felt everything was happening."

With the victory, Oosthuizen moved from 60th in the world rankings to inside the top 50. That's significant because after this week's events worldwide, the top 50 get invitations to Augusta National for The Masters in two weeks.

"About two months ago my goal was to play the Masters," admitted Oosthuizen. "I knew I had to play very well. I knew I wanted to play for the Masters spot."

And Oosthuizen, with a win and a runner-up last week, may have more momentum than anyone heading into Augusta. Could winning a green jacket be a realistic goal?

"It would be nice. I hope they've got my size."

Richard Finch (67) and Peter Whiteford (66) shared second place at 14-under 266. Francesco Molinari (67) and Robert Coles (71) tied for fourth at minus-12.

But Sunday belonged to Oosthuizen.

Armed with a one-shot lead heading into the final round, Oosthuizen got off to a fantastic start with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 1. He birdied the fourth hole and drained a 10-footer for birdie at the fifth to build a huge cushion over the field.

Oosthuizen made a sloppy bogey at the seventh thanks to a three-putt, but that hiccup helped his round.

"It got me back to focusing," acknowledged Oosthuizen.

Oosthuizen started his second nine brilliantly with a long birdie putt. That got him to 17-under par, but Whiteford closed the gap to two shots thanks to a nine-foot birdie putt at the 14th.

Whiteford bogeyed his next hole and Oosthuizen kicked in a short birdie putt at the 14th. Oosthuizen drove into a terrible lie at the 16th and could barely advance his ball. He walked off with a bogey, but was still three clear with two to go.

Oosthuizen had great looks at birdies on the last two holes, but converted neither. He two-putted for pars and after his short putt at the last fell in, he was greeted by a champagne shower from his colleagues.

"I was so nervous down the stretch," said Oosthuizen. "I've been putting beautifully all week. When I made the up and down on 14, I felt like this is it."

Last year's winner Soren Kjeldsen (68), Jamie Donaldson (66), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (68), Gabriel Canizares (71), Joost Luiten (66) and James Morrison (65) shared sixth place at minus-11.

NOTES: The European Tour is off next week...Sam Hutsby, the tour rookie who shared the second-round lead, shot his second straight even-par 70 and tied for 12th at 10-under par...Paul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, also had a 70 on Sunday and shared 17th at minus-nine.