JOHANNESBURG - Injury-hit Louis Oosthuizen has backed fellow South African Dylan Frittelli to shine at this week’s Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club, which tees off on Thursday.
Oosthuizen was a shock withdrawal from the tournament on Wednesday morning after hurting two fingers on his right hand; a big blow for the organisers of the tri-sanctioned event in Randburg.
“The body feels great, but unfortunately I jammed two fingers on my right hand in a trolley at the airport and I won’t be able to play this weekend,” explained the 2010 Open Championship winner.
“I was really looking forward to playing and trying to get back inside the world top 20 before the end of the year. That’s not going to happen now.
“I was so pleased when the pro-am on Tuesday was cancelled (because of heavy rain across Joburg) as I was able to get some rest, but the bad thing is the fingers were worse this morning. I tried to grip my club, and just couldn’t. I couldn’t even get my backswing past my hips.”
Oosthuizen said he could have waited a bit longer – until Thursday morning when the tournament gets underway – but felt that wouldn’t be fair on the other players hoping to get a spot in the lucrative tournament.
“I didn’t want to tee off and then have to withdraw after one hole, and take someone else’s spot,” said Oosthuizen, who would have been one of the favourites to win this week. He is now backing last week’s winner in Mauritius, Frittelli, as the man to beat around the Firethorn and Bushwillow courses at the Randpark club.
“Dylan is playing great golf ... and he has been for a while now. George (Coetzee) is also playing well and Haydn Porteous is again at his best. It’s nice seeing the boys coming through and doing well and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a South African winner this week. Dylan will definitely be one of the favourites this week.”
The tournament tees off on Thursday morning, with all the players having a round on both the Bushwillow and Firethorn courses before the cut in made after the second round, with the final two rounds being played only on the Firethorn course. Darren Fichardt is the defending champion after winning at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington early this year.