Goosen Rebounds from US Open Debacle

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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland --Retief Goosen has forgotten about the U.S. Open.
 
The South African opened the British Open with a 4-under 68 Thursday, just two strokes behind early leader Tiger Woods and a complete reversal of Goosen's last round in a major.
 
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen rebounded nicely from his U.S. Open debacle with a 4-under 68 Thursday.
A month ago, he went to the finale of Pinehurst No. 2 with a three-stroke lead. Considering his unflappable manner and two previous U.S. Open victories, it seemed a fairly comfortable position.
 
But Goosen fell apart, losing his lead in the first three holes and finishing with a miserable 81 that ruined his hopes of becoming only the second repeat champion in the last 50 years.
 
Goosen, who's had a testy relationship with the media during the past month, was in no mood to elaborate on what happened in North Carolina.
 
When the subject was first raised, he merely said, 'It's great being at St. Andrews. I'm looking forward to the week and hopefully to get a good round in, a good tournament and give myself a good chance on Sunday.'
 
A few questions later, Goosen was asked again about what happened at his last Open.
 
'Pinehurst is pretty much history,' he said. 'I wasn't thinking about it at all. It was one of those rounds of golf where I played bad. And I've been very much looking forward to this week. Pinehurst has been completely forgotten.'
 
That was obvious from the way Goosen played the Old Course. At No. 3, he put a sand wedge only 2 feet from the flag and tapped in for birdie. At the par-5 fifth, he chipped his third shot to 4 feet and rolled in the putt.
 
Bouncing back from a bogey at the seventh, where he put a 3-wood into the rough, Goosen drove close enough to the green at the 352-yard ninth that he got down with two putts to spark a stretch of three birdies in four holes that briefly returned his name to the top of the leaderboard.
 
Goosen's only major bobble came at the 13th, the second-longest par-4 on the course at 465 yards. The trouble started when he put the ball in one of the Old Course's cavernous bunkers and wound up three-putting for a double bogey.
 
Instead of collapsing as he did at Pinehurst, Goosen bounced right back with a birdie at 14 and closed with another one on the final hole.
 
'I'm still not hitting it as correct or as good as I know I can,' he said. 'But today was nice. I hit a couple of good shots out there, which gives you a bit of confidence.'
 
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