Louis Oosthuizen is not playing this week’s Turkish Airlines Open, and that signals very clearly his intent to give winning at Sun City his best shot.2019. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP Photo

SUN CITY  A closing three-under-par 69 for SA’s Louis Oosthuizen wasn’t enough to top Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, or get him into a play-off with McIlroy and American Xander Schauffele, but it was enough to show he is rounding into the kind of form South African fans would love to see later this month at Sun City.

Oosthuizen finished third in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai over the weekend, but it was the way he played as much as his finishing position which will have the crowds at the Nedbank Golf Challenge cheering his every move.

He came third in last year’s Sun City event, four shots behind runaway winner Lee Westwood of England, whose final-round 64 obliterated the field. And Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, would love to get ‘Africa’s Major’ on his list of titles.

It was his third-round of seven-under 65 which was the eye-opener in Shanghai at the weekend, as he eased into a share of the 54-hole lead with McIlroy and set himself up for a shot at what would have been his first WGC victory.

He’s not playing this week’s Turkish Airlines Open, and that signals very clearly his intent to give winning at Sun City his best shot.

The next best South African in Shanghai was Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who punctuated first and third rounds of 69 and 66 with a pair of level-par 72s. He finished in a share of 17th.

Erik van Rooyen had a battling week of 73-71-71-71 to lock down a share of 38th, while Bryce Easton celebrated his first WGC tournament with a share of 43rd. Justin Harding overcame a poor start to record two closing rounds under par and finish in a tie for 53rd. Neil Schietekat and Jbe’ Kruger started well, but battled for the rest of the week to finish in 57th and 60th respectively, with Richard Sterne and Zander Lombard finishing 70th and 72nd.

Shaun Norris was in action again in Japan, and a share of 25th was his reward for a closing 66 in the Mynavi ABC Championship. He wasn’t the best Sunshine Tour performer, however, with Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe also closing in 66 for a share of 17th. Peter Karmis finished 35th.

On the PGA Tour, Branden Grace missed the cut in the Bermuda Championship, and he probably felt he should have been playing in the WGC event in an effort to get himself into the running for a captain’s pick from Ernie Els for the Presidents Cup. 

African News Agency (ANA)