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Goosen wins Africa Open

2009-01-18 17:15

East London - His par putt on the 18th lipped out, and Retief Goosen had visions of one of the chasing pack catching him, but his final round 65 was enough to win the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club by a single stroke.

For a man who has been agonising over his putting for months recently, he putted coolly under pressure to hold off the hard-charging youngster Branden Grace of South Africa, Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey and Darren Clarke and South Africa’s Darren Fichardt.

“I hit a fairly good putt, good line, the first time and it came up short,” said Goosen of that little shudder on the 18th. “I thought the next one was a right edge putt, but it didn’t turn and lipped out and then I knew I was going to have a play-off. I was very surprised that none of the other guys get to 21-under, so I was lucky with that mistake.”

Until that final putt, it was the cool Goosen of old as he birdied four of the opening nine holes to put the pressure on overnight leaders James Kingston and Clarke.

Kingston had got out of the blocks fast, but when he got a horrible triple-bogey on the 14th, he crashed out of contention.

Clarke was dogged throughout, but a bogey five on the ninth cost him dearly, and when his approach to the 18th overshot the green, his challenge petered out, as he needed a birdie to force the playoff.

But it was Grace who was the revelation: The 21-year-old started the day at 13-under for the tournament, and four birdies and a bogey on the outward nine gave notice of his intentions.

Four more birdies on the inward stretch, and he was suddenly in a four-way tie for second. “I thought I would just go out as hard as I could, but it really was a bit much to make up,” said Grace, who can’t be too far off his maiden victory.

Fichardt got the last of three birdies in his round on the 11th, and the rest of his round was spent trying desperately to find just one more. He came close on many occasions, finally on the 18th as his chip from the back of the green slid by the hole and left him a tap-in for par.

Behind them, the challenge of the big Argentinean Angel Cabrera dissipated in an opening flurry of three consecutive bogeys.

He appeared to get his round back on the rails with a birdie at the sixth, but another run of three bogeys from eight to 10 sank him and he was a grumpy man when he finally holed out on the 18th. Not even five birdies in the final eight holes could lighten the mood.

Goosen looks set fair for the year ahead: “This year, I feel I am a little more prepared for the game than over the last couple of years” he said.

“I have been working hard on my fitness and everything,” he added. “I’m probably the fittest now that I’ve been in the last five years. I’m looking forward the season ahead.”

Scores in the final round of the Africa Open played on Sunday at the East London Golf Club (all players South African unless specified):

267 - Retief Goosen 66 70 66 65

268 - Branden Grace 69 68 66 65, Michael Hoey (NIR) 68 68 66 66, Darren Fichardt 65 68 67 68, Darren Clarke (NIR) 67 65 66 70

271 - James Kingston 66 67 65 73

272 - Mark Murless 71 68 69 64

273 - Richard Sterne 72 67 61 73

274 - Ulrich van den Berg 70 67 67 70, Charl Schwartzel 65 73 65 71, Angel Cabrera (ARG) 62 68 72 72

275 - Graham DeLaet (CAN) 63 74 64 74

276 - Steve van Vuuren 71 66 70 69, Alex Haindl 66 67 72 71

277 - Brandon Pieters 71 68 70 68, Jaco Van Zyl 73 66 70 68, Marc Cayeux (ZIM) 68 66 69 74

278 - Keith Horne 71 67 68 72, Christiaan Basson 69 70 65 74

279 - Louis de Jager 69 73 69 68, Tyrone Mordt 70 73 66 70, Deane Pappas 67 70 69 73, Warren Abery 67 68 70 74, Dawie Van der Walt 68 68 69 74

280 - Louis Moolman 70 71 69 70, Trevor Fisher Jnr 74 69 67 70, Grant Muller 69 67 71 73

281 - Garth Mulroy 70 72 70 69, Martin Maritz 69 73 69 70, Paulo Pinto (ARG) 68 69 73 71

282 - Alan McLean (SCO) 68 71 72 71, Stuart Clark (WAL) 71 65 73 73, David Frost 72 68 69 73

283 - Tyrone van Aswegen 73 68 74 68, Shaun Norris 73 68 73 69, Wallie Coetsee 73 69 71 70, Kevin Stone 71 72 70 70, Clinton Whitelaw 71 72 68 72, Gerlou Roux 72 70 68 73, Jake Roos 70 70 68 75

284 - Neil Schietekat 66 74 73 71, Charl Coetzee 67 74 70 73, Darryn Lloyd 71 71 69 73, Jean Hugo 69 69 72 74, Peter Karmis 68 71 70 75

285 - Adilson da Silva (BRA) 71 72 71 71, PH McIntyre 69 71 70 75, Michiel Bothma 69 71 70 75, Wes Heffernan 70 70 70 75, Merrick Bremner 75 64 70 76, Justin Walters (ENG) 68 72 67 78

286 - Bradford Vaughan 72 68 77 69, Oliver Bekker 68 74 73 71, Heinrich Bruiners 71 71 73 71, Sean Farrell (ZIM) 69 71 74 72, Thomas Aiken 73 70 70 73, Ryan Thompson 72 68 72 74, Lindani Ndwandwe 68 72 72 74, Andrew Curlewis 71 71 68 76, Willie van der Merwe 68 68 71 79, Steve Lewton (ENG) 69 68 67 82

287 - Gerhard Trytsman 68 70 76 73, André Bossert (SUI) 70 69 74 74, Tyrone Ferreira 69 71 71 76

288 - Peter Kaensche (NOR) 71 71 77 69, Theunis Spangenberg 69 71 73 75

289 - Desvonde Botes 72 71 70 76, Nic Henning 70 69 69 81

294 - Dion Fourie 71 72 74 77

295 - Federico Cabrera (ARG) 72 70 78 75

297 - Francois van Vuuren 75 68 75 79

 

Sport24

Comments
  • Andre Goosen - 2009-01-18 21:50

    Well done Goose, your putting is back again, good luck with trhe Quatarmasters

  • Golf Cart - 2009-01-19 09:32

    Go Goose!!! Looks like you're back again...Good luck for next week.

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