The Punter

The Punter's Debrief: Louis goes back-to-back

Golfer Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen sealed back to back wins at the Mauritius Open

Just six days after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship, Louis Oosthuizen has won the Mauritius Open. Steve Rawlings looks back on the South African's victory...

  • Oosty wins again after slow start on Sunday

  • Matt's fancy places after sensational finish

  • LIV golfers in-the-mix again

Just six days after winning the weather-delayed Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek, Louis Oosthuizen has gone in again at the Mauritius Open around a links-style course that he co-designed. But it wasn't all plain sailing.

Oosthuizen had been fairly weak in the market before the off, drifting from an initial 7.06/1 out to around 10.09/1, and he was matched at a high of 20.019/1 when he trailed the early pacesetter, Antoine Rozner, by six strokes after round one.

The defending champ, Rozner, was matched at just 2.1411/10 on Thursday morning when he played his first 14 holes in 11-under-par but that was as good as it got for the Frenchman.

A scruffy finish saw him post 10-under-par on day one and he failed to break par after that. A two-over par on Friday morning was followed by a pair of 73s over the weekend and, having looked highly likely to defend on day one, he eventually finished tied for 29th.

Oosthuizen was trading at 6.411/2 at halfway as he trailed Matt Cooper's each-way fancy Sebastian Soderberg by three strokes but it was all change in round three.

Soderberg endured an awful start on Saturday, playing his first 10 holes in seven-over-par to plumet down the leaderboard as Oosthuizen made a huge move in the other direction.

The 41-year-old South African made back-to-back eagles on holes five and six and another at the par five 15th. And missed a chance for another from around six feet at the eighth!

Oosthuizen couldn't recall making three eagles in one round before and it was a week of firsts, as he'd never won back-to-back tournaments before either.

After his seven-under-par 65 on Saturday, Oosthuizen began the final round trading at 1.684/6, leading Jacques P De Villiers by a stroke, with Laurie Canter alone in third and three off the lead. But it wasn't long before the odds-on backers were having to worry.

Louis made back-to-back bogeys at four and five and three men were ahead of him as he played the drivable par four sixth - De Villiers, Canter, and incredibly, Soderberg, who was bouncing back unbelievably well after his horror round on Saturday.

Soderberg bounces back brilliantly

The Swede had bogeyed the first hole on Sunday to trail Oosthuizen by 10 strokes but he went on an amazing run after that to eventually post nine-under-par and 14-under-par for the week.

That wasn't quite enough but it did see him finish tied for third and leave his backers wondering what might have been.

De Villiers hit a low of 2.727/4 and Canter was matched at just 3.02/1 but neither really looked like kicking on for the win once Oosty had composed himself with a birdie three at the sixth.

He followed that with a very good chip and putt for birdie at the eighth to pull alongside his playing partner, De Villiers, and Soderberg in the clubhouse, and he led alone again with this monster birdie putt at the 10th.

Canter missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to draw alongside Louis, who had just bogeyed the 16th and parred the 17th. That made things slightly easier for the veteran South African.

Needing a par five at the 18th to win by a stroke, he hit a perfect drive straight down the middle before finding the green in two. Needing three putts for the win, he lagged up to the hole perfectly and tapped in the birdie putt for a two-stroke victory over Canter.

Are LIV golfers worth following?

Following Dean Burmester's back-to-back victories in South Africa, Joaquín Niemann's success at the Australian Open a fortnight ago and Louis' two victories, the last five DP World Tour events have been won by LIV Tour players. The runner-up last week, Canter, has also been playing there.

They've all managed to get in to the events because they've been co-sanctioned with other Tours that haven't banned the LIV golfers. We'll need to keep an eye on them when they do appear if the last month or so is anything to go by.

That's it for 2023. I'll be back on New Year's Day with a preview of the Sentry Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour but all that remains now is to thank you for reading and to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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