Louis Oosthuizen was able to successfully defend his title on Sunday, Jan. 12, against an elite field, birdieing the final two holes for a round of four-under 68, a total of 12-under 276 and a one stroke win over Branden Grace.
With one of the best swings in the game, it's surprising Oosthuizen hasn't found the winner's circle more often. However, he's begun the new year with a bang and weathered some adversity along the way to get it done down the stretch.
Oosthuizen eagled the par-five eighth hole and made eight pars to go out in two under. Then a dropped shot at the par-four 16th—where he carded a triple bogey the previous day—threatened to detail his chances at the trophy.
Even with Grace applying pressure in the group ahead by birdieing No. 18 to get to -11, though, the more experienced Oosthuizen held his ground in the penultimate pairing and birdied in to secure the win.
That marked Oosthuizen's first victory since this tournament last season, as he's battled through injury issues for much of the past year. Hopefully he's fit enough to continue building off this momentum and be a factor in the forthcoming major championships.
The last two on the course on Sunday were a pair of prodigies in 54-hole leader Tommy Fleetwood and promising 23-year-old Victor Dubuisson. Both have won on the European Tour once before, and the Englishman Fleetwood held the 54-hole lead.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be for Fleetwood, 22, but he did birdie the final hole to salvage a level par round of 72.
Dubuisson matched that score but took a frustrating 32 putts on what would a solid ball-striking day. It's something both he and Fleetwood should learn from when they're put in position to contend again.
Underrated South African Joost Luiten had a nice showing of his own on home soil and battled back for a round of 71 and a joint third-place finish after starting the day off with two straight bogeys.
It was a welcome return to form for three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, too. The Irishman has been struggling with swing changes for a number of years, with scarce, occasionally positive results to show for them.
Perhaps 2014 is a change in that regard, because Harrington pieced together a brilliant 67 to close out the tournament and putted well on the weekend.
*For complete scores and stats, visit EuropeanTour.com.