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New Year joy continues for Oosthuizen with Volvo win

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen tees off on the 14th hole during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen tees off on the 14th hole during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf

DURBAN (Reuters) - South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen won the first European Tour event of the calendar year for the fourth consecutive year when he retained his Volvo Golf Champions title at the Durban Country Club on Sunday.

Oosthuizen carded a final round 68 for a 12-under-par total of 276, one stroke ahead of compatriot Branden Grace.

The 2010 Open champion looked to have blown his chances when he recorded a bogey on the 16th to fall a shot behind Grace, but back-to-back birdies in the final two holes put him in front.

Overnight leader Tommy Fleetwood of England managed a par round of 72 on Sunday to finish two shots behind Oosthuizen and tied third with Dutchman Joost Luiten.

Oosthuizen was at a loss to explain his early January form, other than the fact it follows a period away from his clubs.

"I think I just take a proper holiday," Oosthuizen said at the presentation ceremony.

"I didn't play any golf before this, so maybe that's the key."

A dropped shot on the 16th, where he had triple-bogeyed in Saturday's third round, was followed by a superb tee-shot on 17 that set up a birdie chance and give him momentum going into the final hole.

"I saw Branden was top of the leaderboard just as I was about to tee-off on 17, so I knew I needed to give myself a good opportunity so luckily the wind was at the left so I could take the pin on a bit. I still didn't think I would get that close," Oosthuizen said.

"I felt really comfortable out there all day, especially with my iron play and the putter behaved today, I hit some good putts. I managed to finish strong."

Oosthuizen said the 6689-yard course was suited to both the longer hitters and those who played a shorter game.

"I love the course, there weren't a lot of drivers for me this week, more like a lot of three woods, a lot of two irons. But that's what I love about the course, anybody can come and play here."

($1 = 0.7314 euros)

(Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; Editing by Josh Reich)

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