Golf

Oosthuizen confident of another Major

South African denies his career has stagnated since 2010 British Open crown

Louis Oosthuizen was just 27 when he swept to a stunning victory at the British Open in 2010.

Ranked 54th in the world then, he beat England's Lee Westwood by seven shots to secure his first golf Major.

However, eight years on, it remains the South African's only Major to date.

Since then, the closest he got were second-placings at the 2012 US Masters, 2015 US Open and last year's PGA Championship.

But Oosthuizen is still dreaming of the next big one, and he is confident of winning "a few more" in his career.

Cutting a composed figure at yesterday's press conference for the SMBC Singapore Open, which starts tomorrow and ends on Sunday, the 35-year-old brushed off claims that his career could have stagnated.

He said: "I came close in 2012 in the play-off, and in 2015 and last year finishing second, so I don't think I cannot win another Major. In fact, I can win a few more (Majors), really."

However, he admitted that he has struggled to rediscover his form from the 2010 British Open victory.

"I just need to put myself in that position again and, whenever I feel like I've got a chance of winning, I pick up my game a little bit more," he said.

"I'd love to be in that situation (again) to win an event, but getting there is hard work and it gets tougher and tougher as the years go by."

Currently the world No. 24, Oosthuizen is hoping to notch a flying start to 2018 with a victory at the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club this week.

He came close to winning the tournament twice, losing a play-off to Matteo Manassero in 2012 and tying for third a year before that.

While he hopes to go all the way this time round, he won't be putting too much pressure on himself.

He said: "Obviously when the tournament starts, I've got the goal of winning the event.

"But, at the same time, I don't want to push myself too hard and end up having rounds that might mentally break me to start the season.

PEREZ PRAISES COURSE

"One main thing is to relax, forget about everything else, just play golf and slowly work on my game."

Joining him in the elite field is world No. 16 Pat Perez, leader of the FedEx Cup standings. The battle-hardened American, who won the CIMB Classic title in Kuala Lumpur last October, is making his debut in the US$1-million (S$1.32m) tournament.

Following his practice round, the 41-year-old sang praises of the award-winning Serapong Course.

Perez said: "I played the course yesterday and it was fantastic. It's a driver's course, so you've got to hit it straight.

"It is such an unbelievable layout, they used the land perfectly and it's awesome.

"I'm very excited to be here, the course is fantastic and it's going to be a great week."

I came close in 2012 in the play-off, and in 2015 and last year finishing second, so I don't think I cannot win another Major. In fact, I can win a few more (Majors), really. Louis Oosthuizen

Meanwhile, leading the Asian Tour contingent is last year's Order of Merit winner Gavin Green, the first Malaysian to achieve the feat.

The 24-year-old has unsettled business here.

Last year, Green was second at the halfway mark, but his challenge ended following a third-round 82.

Green said: "The course suits me well because I can actually hit the longer irons and some holes are really long, which I have no problem with. I just got to keep the fairway."

He will be juggling both the Asian Tour and European Tour this year, but he is dreaming big despite the pressure and expectations on him.

He has his sights set on attaining a top-100 world ranking and winning a European Tour event.

Green said: "There are more goals and also a change of mindset, which means that I have to step up my game, but that's a good thing.

"It would be nice to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit again, but I'm just trying to play my best every week and see what happens." - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KIMBERLY KWEK

 

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