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Goosen fires 3 under despite lingering back issues

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AKRON, Ohio – Retief Goosen opened with a 3-under 67 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday, which is even more impressive when you consider his current health.

“About 5 out of 10,” he said of lingering back issues. “I am struggling to keep the muscles from firing down in the lower back. It's been a struggle the last year definitely.”

The two-time U.S. Open champion said the problem is an L3-L4 degenerating disk. He’s received diagnoses from numerous doctors and is seeking a long-term option that won’t include surgery.

For now, he’s forced to deal with the pain.

“It is a struggle to sleep properly and to get going in the mornings, to warm up,” he continued. “And yeah, I'm losing a lot of distance out there on the golf course. I can't quite go at it as hard as I would like to.”