Ootshuizen returns to form at Alfred Dunhilll Links

Louis Oosthuizen was unable to add another St Andrews success to his 2010 Open triumph at the Home of Golf, but believes his game has turned a corner after struggling for form at times this season. The South African, who finished 17-under-par and tied fifth, was happy with his week’s work at the scene of his former glory.

Northern Ireland celebrated its newest golfing hero as Michael Hoey showed qualities of steel and resilience to win the event after he shot 68 for a 22-under-par total and two shot victory. US Open champion Rory McIlroy eventually finished runner-up after his faultless seven -under-par 65, while 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell’s 69 gave him a share of third place, one shot further back.

Oosthuizen, who was playing with his brother, Rikus, in the tournament, said: “I’m hitting the ball really well. I struggled on the greens and couldn’t get the speed right. I left everything short which was disappointing, but it’s good to see my game going in the right direction. It’s been really nice walking on the fairways at St Andrews again. It really brought back nice memories. Playing with my brother for three days was really nice. I have great memories here and this week just adds to them.”

Putting woes were the story of the tournament for Oozthuizen’s countrymen Charl Schwartzel and Jaco van Zyl. Schwartzel, who won the Masters earlier this year, finished 15-under-par and tied ninth. He said: “I am very pleased at the way I struck the ball, but very, very frustrated at the way I putted. I’ve got a couple of d ays off now and then I go to Bermuda for the Grand Slam, then China and Japan, the Presidents Cup, the World Cup and the Race to Dubai. The season is far from over.”

Van Zyl finished on the same score as Schwartzel, 15-under-par, and was also left frustrated on the greens. “I hit it nicely all four days, but I think I made 33 putts today – and that was with one-putting the last three greens. It’s just really frustrating. We never play this type of golf at home. The greens are slow. It’s only the second time I’ve been out here, so it was a good experience.”

Major winner Ernie Els, who has played regularly in the tournament with father, Neels, finished on seven-under-par. He said: “This is always a stunning competition. I’ve played with my father many times and we always have a fantastic week. It is a shame we didn’t do better, Dad needs a couple more shots and I need to play better, but regardless of the result, the format of this tournament always makes it fun. Today I played with one of my heroes, Dutch footballer Ruud Gullit, which was brilliant.”

Alex Haindl celebrated his invitation to the event with a top 20 finish: He carded a final round 67 on the Old Course for a share of 18th, while Thomas Aiken‘s 69 lifted him into a tie for 30th. Michiel Bothma missed the cut, as did James Kingston, Jbe’ Kruger, George Coetzee, Retief Goosen, Peter Karmis, Tjaart van der Walt, Alan McLean, Neil Schietekat and Keith Horne.

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