Louis Oosthuizen cruises to victory at Open

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen today cruised to a commanding victory in the 139th Open Championship at St Andrews to claim his first major title.

Oosthuizen carded a final round of 71 at the Old Course for a 16-under-par total and stunning seven-shot winning margin over world number three Lee Westwood, with Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson a shot further back.

The 27-year-old Oosthuizen took a four-shot lead over Casey into the final round and was still four ahead at the turn courtesy of an eagle two on the ninth.

But the truly decisive moment came on the par-four 12th, where Casey ran up a triple-bogey and Oosthuizen birdied to suddenly enjoy an eight-shot lead with just six holes to play.

At that point the record low score in major history - 19 under par set by Tiger Woods here in 2000 - was within sight, but Oosthuizen dropped a shot at the 17th and parred the 18th, where he was greeted on the green by wife Nel-Mare and baby daughter Jana.

Oosthuizen, 23 over par for his previous three Open appearances before this week, opened with seven straight pars and after dropping a shot on the eighth, responded brilliantly with an eagle two on the ninth.

The world number 54 drove the green on the 352-yard par four and confidently holed from 40ft, Casey then having to hole from eight feet for birdie to keep in touch at 12 under.

However, Casey's faint hopes disappeared completely with a triple bogey on the 12th after he drove into the same gorse bushes found by Germany's Martin Kaymer in the group ahead.

Kaymer had escaped with a bogey five, but Casey's third shot came up short of the green, a clumsy fourth ran through the back and three putts all added up to a not-so-magnificent seven.

Oosthuizen showed no mercy, rolling in a birdie from 12ft to improve to 17 under par and effectively remove all doubt about the outcome.

Woods could only manage a closing 72 to finish well off the pace on three under, the world number one never threatening to claim an unprecedented third Open title at St Andrews.

And world number two Phil Mickelson came home in 41 to card a closing 75 and finish one over.