For three whole days, the world expected Louis Oosthuizen to collapse on golf’s biggest stage, but he never did. Oosthuizen was the victor on Sunday at St. Andrews as the champion of the 139th British Open. He won by a margin of eight strokes over second place finisher, Lee Westwood.
He finished at 16-under 272 and became the first player since Tony Lema in 1964 to win his first major at St. Andrews.
Oosthuizen, a native of South Africa, had only five career victories coming into this year’s British Open. Four of those victories came on the South African Tour, the fifth on the European Tour. He was a 200 to 1 favorite to win the tournament and defied all odds to stay calm, cool, and collected throughout the final round. He did exactly that to win his first major title of his career and sixth overall.
The 54th-ranked player in the world started the day with a four stroke lead over Englishman, Paul Casey. However, as Casey faltered on the 12th hole with a triple-bogey, it quickly became a walk in the park for Oosthuizen. Funny, St. Andrews is an open park when golf is not being played on its hallowed grounds.
Not one player got within three shots of Oosthuizen all day and when he sank a 50-foot eagle putt on the 9th hole, you knew the day was supposed to be for him. He had a chance to tie the modern Open record for biggest win, an eight-stroke margin last accomplished by Tiger Woods a decade ago at St. Andrews. But the 27-year-old missed a 10-foot birdie attempt at the final hole and tapped in for par.
Oosthuizen now becomes the eighth different major winner in the last eight major tournaments and the second South African to win the Claret Jug since Ernie Els in 2002. He will now be welcomed back to the British Open every year until he is 60. With the way he played over the last four days, we may see a multiple major winner by then.