Just like the PGA Tour did last week in Maui, the Euro tour kicked off their calendar year with the Volvo Golf Champions event in South Africa. This is basically the Euro Tournament of Champions, they just label things a bit differently than we do. Playing in his home country, Louis Oosthuizen trailed leader Tommy Fleetwood through 3 rounds. Fellow countryman Branden Grace went out ahead of Louis and posted a -4 round of 68 to be the leader in the clubhouse. Fleetwood never got his game into gear and was passed by both men after shooting level par for the day.
Oosthuizen wasn’t much better than Fleetwood through 7 holes but jump started his round with an eagle at the 8th. A few sloppy bogies at 10 and 16 on the inward 9 left Louis one shot behind Grace with 2 to play. He’d need birdie on both holes to win. After making biride on 17, only the drive-able par four 18th remained. Louis drove it pin high, chipped it to about 15 inches and tapped in for the win. Ball game.
The picture above looks like something from the Lion King on Broadway, doesn’t it? Oosthuizen also won the Volvo last year to kick off his 2013, but his year was marred with injuries that lead to missed tournaments and poor play. He plans to play 8 of the next 9 weeks to get this game sharp for the Masters. If his health holds up, this could be a big year for the man they call Shrek. TGC reported this morning that he’s also building a house in Florida. That sounds to me like he’s thinking about playing golf in the states much more frequently.
Off The Cart Path, Through The Trees, Nothing But Net
South African Charl Schwartzel didn’t play well enough to contend in the Volvo this week. He finished 9 shots off the pace. However, when his wayward tee shot at the 16th hole in the 3rd round ended up on a maintenance driveway he provided a spark of greatness for us to watch.
He could have taken relief from the path, but that would have put his ball in the rough where he couldn’t put spin on it. Playing from the path allowed him to catch it clean and work the ball to the left once it got over the tree. Phil probably could have pulled this off with a huge cut, but the average weekend golfer? Not a chance. Most of us wouldn’t even have the onions to attempt a shot with that degree of difficulty.
Charl not only attempted it but he almost knocked it in the jug. Did you notice the ball mark? It’s merely a few inches from the cup. After hitting such a fantastic shot you’d think Schwartzel would have made the birdie putt. He did not. Nice par, Charl.