Goosen Answers the Call at BellSouth

RSS

Retief Goosen survived a pair of two-shot swings early in the final round to post a runaway victory in the BellSouth Classic in Duluth, Ga.
 
The 33-year-old South African shot 2-under 70 on the most difficult day on the PGA Tour this year, scoring-wise. Goosen finished the final tune-up to the seasons first major at 16-under-par 272 to collect the $684,000 first-place check.
 
Jesper Parnevik eagled the par-5 18th to shoot his lowest round of the year, a 65, and finish in solo second place at 12-under. Phil Mickelson, who led early Sunday, bogeyed the final hole for a 1-over 73. He ended the event alone in third at minus-11.
 
The final round at the TPC at Sugarloaf was remniscent to that of a major championship. And, fittingly enough, it was the reigning U.S. Open champion who prevailed.
 
This is the sixth worldwide triumph for Goosen, dating back to his 18-hole Monday playoff win over Mark Brooks at Southern Hills. Its his third victory this year.
 
Goosen started the day with a two-shot lead over Mickelson, but quickly lost his cushion when he bogeyed the first and Lefty made birdie. Mickelson then took a two-shot advantage when he saved par from 15 feet and Goosen made double bogey.
 
That was quite a start, said Goosen, who is accustomed to overcoming adversity, having missed an 18-inch putt that would have won the U.S. Open in regulation. I just concentrated on staying focused. I knew there were still 16 holes to play.
 
Another big swing occurred at the par-5 fourth ' this time in Goosens favor. Goosen chipped in from 100 feet away for an eagle-3, while Mickelson hit an errant second shot and made a bogey-6.
 
Goosen reclaimed the outright lead at 13-under ' and never again trailed.
 
The South African birdied the sixth to move two clear of his American counterpart. Another Mickelson bogey at the eighth made it a three-shot deficit by turn.
 
I hit a lot of good shots, but it was so hard to get the ball close to the flag, said Mickelson, who won here in 2000. Its hard to describe.
 
On the back, Goosen continued to extend his lead by shooting 2-under 34. Mickelson shot even-par 36. Goosens 70 was nearly five strokes better than the field scoring average of 74.835 Sunday. The average was the highest on tour since the final round at this event a year ago.
 
Goosen and company will now head about two hours down the road to Augusta National for the Masters Tournament.
 
Its similar green, and similar shots into green, Goosen said. Theres some great lessons learned here for next week.
 
Full-field scores from the BellSouth Classic