Louis Oosthuizen (pictured) lost in a play-off to Bubba Watson at this year’s US Masters. He looked in great shape to win the Green Jacket before Watson played one of the best shots of the year to set up the crucial putt.
Watson found himself with a view partially obstructed by trees, while Oosthuizen was much better placed in the fairway. Watson then faded a shot around the trees to find the green. He holed the resulting putt to secure his first major championship.
It is testimony to Oosthiuzen’s temperament and ability that he won the Malaysian Open the following week. He also won the Africa Open at the start of the year to bring his tally of European Tour wins to five. However, that does include the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews.
The South African player has now risen to a career high of sixth in the world rankings and he is currently fourth in the Race to Dubai. He cannot overhaul Rory McIlroy but he can finish second with a win, though that does depend on the money won by several other players.
Oosthuizen could still be in contention for the Race to Dubai if he had won the Singapore Open two weeks ago. His eight foot putt to beat Matteo Manassero in the play-off lipped out, so he had to settle for second place again as an eagle at the final play-off hole secured the win for Manassero
Recent modifications to the Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates in Dubai have put a greater premium on accuracy. The fairways are relatively wide, but bunkers and hazards have been carefully placed to punish any wayward hitting from the tee. The greens are large and undulating and finding them in the correct number of shots will be key.
Oosthuizen scores highly for the important accuracy statistics. Statistically he is the most accurate driver on the European Tour and also a top 30 player for hitting greens in regulation and putting when he finds the greens in the right number.
Our Player in Focus is due another win and this week’s event in Dubai provides him with a decent opportunity to contend. He can’t win the money list now but the huge amounts of cash in the Bonus Pool should see Oosthuizen focus on playing his best golf.