Durban leader Oosthuizen digs up bonus

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EVEN if he misses out on the £280,000 top prize in the Volvo Golf Champions tomorrow night, halfway leader Louis Oosthuizen will be leaving Durban feeling like a kid who has received a late Christmas present.

Thanks to a 30-foot birdie putt at the final hole in his second round, the 2010 Open champion secured a £32,000 excavator from the tournament sponsor for winning the team event along with Thongchai Jaidee and English amateur Colin Ledwith. He could have picked up the keys for a brand-new car, the prize Jaidee gladly accepted for his part in the triumph, but Oosthuizen admitted a brand-new excavator would be much more handy for his farm near Mossel Bay on South Africa’s southern coast.

Playing in the final group, Oosthuizen’s team came to the last level with Darren Clarke, Thorbjorn Olesen and their partner. “I walked around to the guys and said, ‘listen, we need one of these to go in’,” admitted the South African. “I was fortunate enough to make the long one – and then Colin made one as well.”

Oosthuizen revealed he’d struck a deal with Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management, before teeing off, adding: “On the first hole he told me if I won a car I would get the excavator I was looking for. So I’m walking away with a nice gift for the farm – it’s going to be a lot of fun next week playing around with it.”

Oosthuizen hit the front at the halfway stage after a blemish-free round, racing to the turn in 31 before picking up birdies at the 13th, 17th and 18th coming home.

Ernie Els, the other main attraction here this week, had to settle for a level-par 72, dropping him from a share of second overnight to joint-tenth on four-under.