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South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen looks on during a press conference ahead of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club. The four-day competition begins tomorrow. PICTURES BY: QASSIM RAHMATULLAH
DOHA: With the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters starting tomorrow, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen said his victory in Durban earlier this month has boosted his confidence for the top Doha event.
The 30-year-old, who edged Scotland’s Scott Jamieson to clinch the Volvo Golf Champions title by one-shot two weeks ago, described the victory as ‘a perfect start to the season’.
Oosthuizen said in a press conference yesterday: “It’s a perfect start to the season. It brings the confidence up and waiting for the next tournament (in Doha). I think a lot of times, it helps you get going again especially after a win like that (in Durban). Hopefully I can keep that form going.”
The current world number five, will be just one of many top golf stars that will be competing at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club (DGC) that will finish on a Saturday for the first time.
When asked of what he thought of the Saturday finish, Oothuizen, who turned professional in 2002 at the age of 19, said: “I think everyone is just wanting to see what it is going to feel like. I think us as players have no issue with it. I think it’s good that a few more people will be able to attend on the Friday and Saturday. But it’s going to be different finishing on a Saturday.”
After his first victory of the year, Oosthuizen, who won his first Major title – the Open Championship in 2010, said he does feel the pressure of being one of the favourites to win the $2.5m tournament.
“It does probably (on the pressure of being pre-tournament favourite). It is what you work for. Coming into a tournament, knowing that your game is there and your swing feels good, that’s what the hard work is being paid off for,” said the South African, whose best finish in Doha came in 2009 as joint runner-up.
He added: “There is still a lot of golf to be played, it’s a funny game. There is still a lot to be played before Saturday.”
Oosthuizen, who is pleased with the golf course, admitted that the playing conditions could be tough if the four-day event is affected by the wind.
He said: “The minute the wind gets up on this golf course becomes really tough. The golf course changes completely when the wind blows. The minute the wind picks up it will affect the scoring.”
This year’s field includes Ryder Cup heroes such as Spain’s Sergio Garcia and England’s Justin Rose, as well as defending champion Paul Lawrie, who will be aiming to clinch his third win at DGC after wins in 1999 and 2008.
One of the Ryder Cup heroes who will not be competing at DGC is world number one Rory McIlroy, who Oosthuizen describes the Northern Irishman as a ‘great player’.
He said: “You just cannot see him (McIlroy) winning majors for the next three or four years so whatever any of us needs to do, will be have to be special to catch him. I think if I can apply a bit of pressure by winning a major or two, then you never know. He’s a great player.”
The South African, who reached the top 10 of the world rankings in September last year for the first time in his career, said he hopes to claim one of the top two positions in the world.
He said yesterday: “I want to climb up the rankings to number one if I can. I always take it slow and see where my game is. I never set a goal which is going to be too tough to achieve or out of my league.”
The South African golfer , who will make his eighth appearance in Doha, added: “I feel I have a good shout of reaching number two at least. I need to work on my game to achieve that and stay there, and try and get the gap between me and Rory (McIlroy) down.”