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Thursday April 12, 2012

Oosthuizen wants to put behind playoff setback in the Masters

SOUTH AFRICAN star Louis Oosthuizen is seeking inspiration from Rory McIlroy as he seeks to rebound from his Masters heartbreak in the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The gap-toothed Oosthuizen was just centimetres away from his second Major victory in Sunday’s dramatic playoff before Bubba Watson pulled out a tournament–winning shot from the trees on the second playoff hole.

Oosthuizen, winner of the British Open two years ago, has travelled 16,000km on a 30-hour flight to join four other Major champions for the US$2.5mil Malaysian Open.

It was a similar path taken by McIlroy, who made amends for throwing away a four–shot lead on the final day of the Masters last year by heading the field for two rounds in Malaysia before finishing third.

Going forward: Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa hitting a shot on the 14th hole at the KLGCC yesterday. – Reuters

McIlroy proved it was possible to bounce back from a Major near–miss when, just two months later, he won the US Open with a record low score.

Despite losing to Watson on the second playoff hole on Sunday, Oosthuizen is still brimming with confidence following his battling display in the year’s first Major, where he became just the fourth golfer to shoot an albatross in Masters history.

“I’m still a little disappointed that it didn’t go my way but it is just one of those things. It makes me want that green jacket even more now. I think anyone who is playing well wants to try to get some wins under their belts.

“Any performance in a Major, whether it is winning, losing a play-off or finishing in the top three, will give a lot of confidence going forward.

“I’m just looking to continue my good form. I think the first round will be pretty tough because of the tiredness, but after some good rest, hopefully I can play well,” said Oosthuizen.

Also taking a similar route is Martin Kaymer, the world number seven who is the highest ranked golfer in the field this week.

The German, winner of the 2010 US PGA Championship, also travelled 30 hours from Augusta to Kuala Lumpur and is hoping to overcome jetlag and improve on his ninth placing in the Malaysian Open last year.

“I come to tournaments that I feel I have a chance to win. I’ve prepared very well in the last few weeks to put myself in a good position on Sunday afternoon,” said Kaymer.

“Overall, we are experienced enough to play well in the heat. We have been to many hot places in the world and around Asia. It is very easy to adapt because you know what you are facing,” said Kaymer, who was ranked world number one when he played in the Malaysian Open last year.

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