By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Louis Oosthuizen said his late charge at the Australian Open has given him a big boost of confidence heading into this week’s Presidents Cup clash against Tiger Woods’s United States team at Royal Melbourne.
The 2010 British Open champion came within a shot of forcing the battle for the Stonehaven Cup into a playoff at The Australian Golf Club on Sunday when he sealed a sizzling five-under-par 66 with an eagle at the 18th in the final round.
Australian Matt Jones held his nerve to secure the trophy for the second time but Oosthuizen thought his time in Sydney had been perfect preparation for his fourth Presidents Cup campaign.
“I used this week as preparation for next and obviously, Aussie Open is a great event to play,” the 37-year-old told reporters.
“First time over here, we had a good time, got the family here. But I’ll take a lot of confidence out of this and hopefully we can pull it off next week.
“Game face is on now and I’m ready.”
Oosthuizen teamed up with fellow South African Branden Grace in 2015 to become the only International pairing to earn four points in a single Presidents Cup and has a 7-5-3 win-loss-tie record in the biennial competition.
The mild-mannered world number 20 was not too keen to get involved in the hype over United States player Patrick Reed’s widely-condemned rule violation at the Hero World Challenge over the weekend.
“I think the crowd is going to have a nice time with him,” he added.
“(But) we’re focused on what we want to achieve and what we want to do. He brought those things on himself so I can imagine he’s going to have a tough time next week with the crowd.”
What the largely inexperienced International team captained by Oosthuizen’s compatriot Ernie Els will be trying to achieve at Royal Melbourne is a second win in 13 editions of the biennial contest.
Australian Marc Leishman is another of the more seasoned campaigners in the International line-up and he was happy with his game after finishing in a share of 10th at his home Open.
“I putted well, I just wasn’t reading the greens awesome, but yeah, off the tee and around the greens I was pretty pleased with,” the world number 28 said.
“If I could take that over into next week and sharpen my irons up a little bit, should be good to go.
“We’re ready to go, looking forward to it. It’s been a pretty easy week this week energy-wise, so yeah, excited about next week and hopefully we can play well.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)