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Relieved Oosthuizen finally gets over line

No amount of noisy parakeets, even louder jets or sunbathing nudists nearby could distract Louis Oosthuizen from finally claiming his first European Tour title today.

A week after losing a three-shot lead and having his fourth runners-up finish the 27-year-old South African lifted the Andalucian Open in Malaga by three shots from Scot Peter Whiteford and England's Richard Finch.

The victory lifts Oosthuizen back into the world's top 50 just in time to earn him a second successive trip to The Masters and he said: “Unbelievable — that was my goal two months ago.”

After dropping to 75th in the rankings he then came second and third in successive weeks in his home country, but even last weekend's near-miss left him almost certainly having to win at the Parador course to make it to Augusta.

Oosthuizen did it in impressive fashion, taking over at the top with a second day 63 and closing with rounds of 66 and 67 for a 17 under aggregate of 263.

After being drenched in champagne by fellow countryman Thomas Aiken and then kissing his wife and three-month-old daughter Jana he added: “I was quite nervous down the stretch and very, very nervous on the 18th tee.

“So I just decided to hit it as hard as I could.”

Switching caddies did nothing to improve Darren Clarke's game last week, although he at least finished with a one under round of 69 to come in in joint 52nd.

Gareth Maybin, who’d gone into the weekend in a challenging position, dropped 14 places to joint 36th yesterday with a two over final round of 72.

Michael Hoey came in with a 69 to climb seven places to finish level on three under overall with the Ballyclare man.

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