Former Open champ Louis Oosthuizen opts out of Olympics in Rio

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen has joined Adam Scott in opting out of the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.

Scott confirmed on Tuesday that he would be unavailable for selection for Australia and South Africa’s Oosthuizen has now followed suit.

In a statement released by his management company, the world number 12 said he had informed his country’s Olympic committee of his decision after “long deliberations, citing family and schedule issues”.

He added: “I have always represented South Africa with pride so didn’t make my decision without a great deal of thought.

“I would like to wish our golfers and all other athletes competing in Brazil all the very best for success.”

Golf’s inclusion in the Olympics for the first time since 1904 has resulted in a tightly-packed 2016 schedule and provoked a mixed reaction from the game’s star players.

Asked in January whether he would rather win a gold medal in Rio or another major title, world number two Jordan Spieth initially said ‘’Both’’ before adding: “That’s a question that really only would get me in trouble to actually answer.”

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who is set to represent Ireland in Rio, had no hesitation in preferring more major titles, adding: “I think a major championship is the pinnacle of our sport. I think I’ll be remembered for my major championships.

“All I’ve dreamed of from being a little kid is winning majors. I never dreamed of competing in the Olympics or winning an Olympic medal. So in my mind, a major will always be more important.’’

Meanwhile France’s Alexander Levy and South Korea’s Soomin Lee shared the lead after a weather-affected opening day of the Shenzhen International.

Levy, who also led the Spanish Open with a first-round 66 last week before going on to finish 14th at Valderrama, carded six birdies and no bogeys at Genzon Golf Club to set the clubhouse target on six under par. Lee then completed his own flawless 66 just before play was suspended for the day due to darkness, a knock-on effect of an earlier 45-minute delay caused by the threat of lightning.

Ireland’s Paul Dunne, who shared the 54-hole lead in the Open Championship at St Andrews last year while still an amateur, had completed a four-under-par 68 to join Spain’s Eduardo de la Riva, Holland’s Joost Luiten and French duo Raphael Jacquelin and Gary Stal in joint fourth.

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