Kuala Lumpur: South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen atoned for his Masters Tournament heartbreak by cruising to a stylish three-stroke victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open on Sunday whereas Indian duo of Jyoti Randhawa and Jeev Milkha finished at the tied sixth position.
A week after losing in a play-off to American Bubba Watson at Augusta National, the 29-year-old underlined his star credentials by overcoming jetlag, searing heat and a stellar field assembled at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, closing with a solid four-under-par 68 for a 17-under-par 271 winning total.
Scotsman Stephen Gallacher carded a battling 70 for second place while American David Lipsky, winner of the HANDA FALDO Cambodian
Classic last month, finished joint third and two shots back after a 70 alongside Danny Willett of England (71) and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello (71).
Former Asian Tour number ones Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa of India were the best placed Asians in tied 11th place in the US$2.5 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Oosthuizen, who received the Seagram Trophy from Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and also the champion’s navy blue jacket, said: “It would have been better if I had the green jacket (laughter) but I’m a little bit surprise because I thought I would be tired. I played well and the game was there so it made it a lot easier. I had a good week.”
The South African, the 2010 British Open champion, returned to the course this morning to complete his third round with a 69 for a one-shot lead into the final 18 holes. With his game in full flow, he was in total control before breaking away with a birdie on the 13th hole before putting the icing on the cake with another birdie on 16.
“I had a seven iron in my hand (on 13) and the wind changed a little bit so I went to an eight-iron which I can commit myself. I hit a beautiful shot and made that putt,” he said.
“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,” said the Scotsman. “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.
“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.”
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.
Randhawa, Asia’s number one in 2002, was in contention for most of the round before dropping five shots on holes 13 and 14. He was still delighted with his best result since the 2011 Panasonic Open India where he placed fifth.
“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.
Scores after round 4 of the Maybank Malaysian Open 2012 being played at the par 72, 6967 Yards Kuala Lumpur GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
271 - Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 66-68-69-68.
274 - Stephen Gallacher (SCO) 67-68-69-70.
276 - Rafael Cabrera-bello (ESP) 67-72-66-71, Danny Willett (ENG) 69-69-67-71, David Lipsky (USA) 70-67-69-70.
277 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 64-75-70-68.
279 - Matteo Manassero (ITA) 70-72-68-69, Martin Kaymer (GER) 70-67-71-71, Romain Wattel (FRA) 68-68-72-71, Hennie Otto (RSA) 71-64-72-72.
280 - Scott Hend (AUS) 70-71-73-66, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 72-68-69-71, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 65-73-70-72, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 66-72-68-74, Jbe Kruger (RSA)70-65-77-68.
281 - Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 68-72-71-70, Rikard Karlberg (SWE) 73-69-71-68, Ben Fox (USA) 70-68-70-73, Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 71-71-70-69.
282 - Joost LUITEN (NED) 72-69-73-68, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 71-73-69-69, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 67-74-72-69, Julien QUESNE (FRA) 69-72-73-68.
By Indian Sports News Network