Oosthuizen currently ranks fourth in the European Tour’s season-long points race and has everything to play for at Lake Malaren Golf Club, where the $7-million tournament gets underway on Thursday.
The 2010 Open Champion has played his best golf when under pressure on the big stages this year, having shared second at both the US Open and the Open Championship.
The Mossel Bay local was also 19th at The Masters and 30th at the PGA Championship, but his latest showing was a disappointing share of 44th at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
The seven-time European Tour winner will be keen to catch McIlroy, but needs a second-place finish to do so. It’s the kind of scenario that Oosthuizen dreams of and he’ll surely come out guns blazing this week.
Also looking to overthrow McIlroy is 2014 Nedbank Golf Challenge winner Danny Willett, who currently holds second in the Race to Dubai and needs a 28th-place finish or better to claim the top spot.
“If we can go to Dubai next week and be in front it would be good, so I’ll try to knuckle down and do well,” said Willett. “I was 11th in Turkey and third last week, so it feels like we’re back on the way,” he said.
Branden Grace is another contender vying for Race to Dubai glory and is a player to watch in China this week. The young superstar is sixth in the European points race and nothing less than a win would take him clear of his rivals.
There is plenty at stake at the BMW Masters and thoughts of Dubai glory will be creeping into the back of every player’s mind. Staying focused on the job at hand will be the secret to success at Lake Malaren Golf Club.