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2010 Open: Oosthuizen cruises to victory at St Andrews

FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD (GB & Ire unless stated):
-16 L Oosthuizen (SA) -9 L Westwood -8 R McIlroy, H Stenson (Swe), P Casey
-7 R Goosen (SA) -6 R Rock, S O'Hair (USA), N Watney (USA), M Kaymer (Ger)

Louis Oosthuizen with the Claret Jug

The Open 2010: Day four highlights (UK only)

By Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport at St Andrews

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen turned the Open Championship into a procession as he romped to a seven-stroke victory over Lee Westwood at St Andrews.

The 27-year-old clinched his maiden major title with a composed display of front-running after taking the lead on Friday.

Oosthuizen began the final day four strokes clear of Paul Casey and carded a 71 to finish 16 under around the Old Course.

Westwood picked up two shots in a round of 70 to edge into second on nine under, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (68), Sweden's Henrik Stenson (71) and England's Casey (75) in a tie for third on eight under.

World number one Tiger Woods, who was aiming to win a third successive St Andrews Open, was unable to make up any ground and ended well adrift on three under after a level-par 72 that included double bogeys on the fourth and seventh.

Oosthuizen had missed the cut in his previous three Open appearances, but he rarely looked troubled as he cruised to an unexpected victory.

Open triumph yet to sink in for Oosthuizen

"It's unbelievable," he told BBC Sport. "After the 12th it became a bit difficult to keep such a big lead and to remain calm and focused but I kept cool and calm the whole way.

"I'm glad I had eight shots on 18! I think I cramped up a bit with the putter on 18 as well.

"It was a battle for me to keep calm round this course. That was the biggest goal for me, to keep calm. It's probably going to hit me tomorrow or the week after what I did."

Playing in the last group with Casey, Oosthuizen parred the first seven holes as the Englishman dropped a shot at the second before getting it back at the sixth. When the South African from Mossel Bay dragged his tee shot left on the short eighth and made a bogey, the gap was down to three.

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But Oosthuizen hit back immediately with an eagle at the driveable par-four ninth and with Casey only managing to make a birdie, the lead was back up to four.

Oosthuizen forged to 17 under at the 12th as Casey made a triple bogey via the gorse bushes to slide to nine under and from then on the result was virtually a formality.

Oosthuizen, ranked 54th in the world at the start of the week, won his first European Tour title at the Andalucia Open in March and had missed the cut in seven of his eight previous major appearances - including the 2009 Masters and US Open this year.

He becomes the second South African to win the Open at St Andrews after Bobby Locke in 1957. He also joins Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman on the list of South African major winners.

Consistency not enough for Westwood

Westwood, the world number three, kept plugging away to make it a fourth top-three finish in the last five majors and improve on his third place at Turnberry in 2009.

Sir Nick Faldo remains the last Englishman to win the Open - at Muirfield in 1992 - and the last to win any major - at the Masters in 1996.

"I keep putting myself into contention in these majors and keep finishing in the top three. It's not to be sniffed at," said Westwood. "Hopefully one of these chances will turn into a trophy."

The 21-year-old McIlroy, who led after round one with a stunning 63 before carding 80 in the fierce wind of day two, surged back up the field to demonstrate that St Andrews is a course he could win on in the future.

The world number nine from Holywood matched his third place in last year's US PGA, and despite missing the cut at both the Masters and the US Open earlier this year, he has now had three top-10s in his seven major appearances as a professional.

McIlroy rues poor second round

"I couldn't help but think about Friday going up the last hole," he said. "It's always satisfying to be up there in a major but in these circumstances after starting so well I suppose it's a little bit disappointing."

Stenson, aiming to become the first Swedish male golfer to win a major, made only a single birdie all day, at the seventh, among 17 pars.

World number 10 Casey, his challenge for the title over, dropped a further shot on the 15th, but the 32-year-old ended with his best finish in a major after coming sixth at the Masters on his debut in 2004.

Goosen finished a shot further back in sixth place on seven under after a bogey-free closing round of 70.

GOLF BLOG
Rob Hodgetta

England's Robert Rock shot a third round in the 60s as he ended in a tie for seventh place with US pair Sean O'Hair, Nick Watney and Germany's Martin Kaymer, who started the day with hopes of victory but five bogeys on the back nine ended his challenge.

Three shots further back was Woods, who is still searching for a 15th major title after falling short in his quest for a third straight Open victory at St Andrews following his win by eight shots in 2000 and five shots in 2005.

The world number one last won a major at the US Open in 2008, but followed that nine months out of the game for knee surgery and then spent five months away at the beginning of this year after a scandal in his private life.

"I feel satisfaction in that I drove it great all week, hit my irons well and did not putt well except for the first day," said Woods, who came fourth in both the Masters and US Open earlier this year. "You can't expect to win golf tournaments if you have nine or 10 three-putts."

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, the US Open champion, also ended three under.

Paul Casey

How Casey's challenge crumbled



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see also
The Open day four photos
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Woods blames poor form on putting
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Rock relishing second Open chance
17 Jul 10 |  Golf
Donald delighted by strong finish
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Dyson blames it all on his putter
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Khan happy to be in major league
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Oosthuizen maintains lead in Open
17 Jul 10 |  Golf
Oosthuizen leads at wind-hit Open
16 Jul 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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