Oosthuizen begins year with yet another victory


Give Louis Oosthuizen this: The man knows how to begin the year in style.

For the fourth consecutive year the South African began the calendar year with a victory on home soil.

In 2011 and ’12 it was the Africa Open. On Sunday, he birdied the last two holes to leapfrog Branden Grace and defend his title at the Volvo Golf Champions. He shot rounds of 68-69-71-68 at Durban Country Club to finish at 12-under 276. 

Oosthuizen has now won on the European Tour in five consecutive seasons, the longest streak among active players. It was his seventh career Euro Tour title.

Not a bad performance for a player who supposedly was still dealing with a back injury. Earlier this week the 2010 Open champion said that he would be unable to set his schedule beyond the Masters in April because he wanted to see how his back handled the increased workload. 

One of the sweetest swingers in the world was plagued by the injury for the better half of the 2013 season, as he withdrew from both summer opens, didn’t tee it up at the PGA but returned a few months later to compete for the International side at the Presidents Cup. He competed in all four Final Series events, but failed to finish better than 15th.

“I had some injections in my lower back last October that seem to have helped,” he said earlier this week. “The good thing is I am playing pain-free and I am doing a lot of things to get it better. But the pain is definitely still there and it’s not going to go away, and it’s going to take a lot of time. … It’s just one of those things I have to deal with.”