Volvo Golf Champions: Louis Oosthuizen edges out Branden Grace to defend Durban title

Last Updated: 12/01/14 3:22pm

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Louis Oosthuizen holds aloft the trophy

Louis Oosthuizen holds aloft the trophy

Sky Bet

Louis Oosthuizen produced a birdie-birdie finish to win the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club for the second year running.

The South African, who had struggled with back problems in the latter half of 2013, delighted the home crowd once more by firing a closing four-under 68 to edge out compatriot Branden Grace (68) by a shot, with England's Tommy Fleetwood (72) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (71) a further stroke back in tied third.

Final leaderboard

(Rsa unless stated)

-12 L Oosthuizen
-11 B Grace
-10 J Luiten (Ned)
-10 T Fleetwood (Eng)
-9 P Harrington (Ire)
-9 R Jacquelin (Fra)
-9 V Dubuisson (Fra)

Click here for collated scores

Grace, who had started the final day three shots back, had roared into the lead with a hat-trick of birdies at six, seven and eight and he had further chances to extend his advantage at the top on the back nine but couldn't convert them.

A bogey at 15 looked set to have cost him but he nailed a 35 footer for birdie at 16 and added another at 18 to set the clubhouse target of 11-under.

Oosthuizen started with seven straight pars but sank a 12 foot eagle putt on the eighth to tie the lead.

The 2010 Open champion wobbled with a bogey at the par five 10th but appeared to take a grip of the tournament again with back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 moving him into the lead.

However, the 16th hole, where he took a triple bogey on Saturday, again proved troublesome and when he bogeyed it and Grace birdied the 18th, Oosthuizen was suddenly one behind with two to play.

Needing to find some magic at 17, Oosthuizen played a wonderful second shot to tap-in range and that meant he needed a three at the easy par four last to secure a successful title defence.

His tee-shot looked great in the air before bounding through the green but a great chip to inside three feet allowed him to roll in the winning birdie putt and land his seventh European Tour title.

Fleetwood falters

Fleetwood had started the day with a one-shot lead and briefly stretched that to three thanks to a birdie from 30ft at the second and mistakes from his rivals.

But a dropped shot from Fleetwood on the fifth gave hope to the chasing pack and he made further errors at seven and nine to drop two shots off the lead.

The 22-year-old birdied 10 but couldn't find any more until the final hole.

With the par four last driveable, Fleetwood could still have tied Oosthuizen with a hole-in-one but the miracle didn't happen. The tap-in birdie did elevate him into a tie for third though.

Meanwhile, there was early-season encouragement for Padraig Harrington as he closed with a 67 to share fifth place with French duo Raphael Jacquelin (69) and Victor Dubuisson (72).

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