In his first return to action since a back injury sidelined him in May, Retief Goosen fired rounds of 70 and 72 to make the cut at the European Tour's Italian Open.
At 2-under 142, the two-time U.S. Open champ trails a trio of co-leaders, including Italy's Francesco Molinari, by seven shots. It's the first competitive play of any kind for the South African since he withdrew from the opening round of The Players Championship because of a back ailment that was originally estimated to cost him only 4-6 weeks.
'I started to feel uncomfortable at the start of May and then the following week I couldn't hit the ball,' the 44-year-old told EuropeanTour.com in advance of this week's event in Turin. 'I was then told I had a stress fracture on the L-3 facet joint and that meant another three to four months of rest.'
Having racked up $315,702 in earnings in just eight starts on the PGA Tour this year, Goosen will begin the 2013-14 season equipped with a major medical extension. In a recent blog post, he confirmed plans to play in next week's Dunhill Links Championship before returning to action on the PGA Tour at the season-opening Frys.com Open next month.
'My goal for the next couple of weeks is to get some feel and some tempo and just try to get comfortable on the golf course again and see how the back holds up,' he added.