Goosens 64 Tops Tiger for Victory


04 Tour Championship by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Retief Goosen, the reigning U.S. Open champion, overcame a four-shot deficit on Sunday to win the season-ending Tour Championship. He fired a 6-under 64 to finish four strokes clear of Tiger Woods at 11-under-par 269.
Woods, who failed to win with a piece of the 54-hole lead for the first time since this event in 2000, only managed a 2-over 72 on Sunday. This was only the third time since joining the tour that Woods squandered a final-round lead, but now Woods has gone through the entire 2004 campaign without a stroke-play victory.
'Very disappointed,' said Woods, who won this year's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. 'I felt like I had a golden opportunity to win a tournament. I wish I could have played a little better than I did. I feel like I really should have won this tournament.'
Woods, who fell to third in the world rankings this season and fourth on the final money list, could not hang with Goosen, who started to ascend up the leaderboard with a pair of birdies in his first three holes. But Woods and Jay Haas enjoyed a four-shot lead heading into the final round so the U.S. Open champion would have ground to make up.
Luckily for Goosen, Woods and Haas were falling apart at the start of their rounds. Woods dropped shots at two, five and seven, and on all three occasions, missed the fairway and left himself with long par putts.
Haas ran a birdie putt 10 feet past the hole at six, and missed the putt coming back for par. He dropped another shot at seven, and when Goosen tapped in for birdie at the par-5 ninth, Goosen found himself in the lead.
Haas caught him with a birdie at nine, and Woods closed the gap with birdies at nine and 11 to match Goosen in the lead at 8 under par.
Goosen reclaimed the lead with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 13th. His drive kicked in a fairway bunker at the par-5 15th, which forced him to lay up short of the putting surface. Goosen's third stopped 6 feet from the hole and he converted the birdie putt to move two ahead of Woods.
Haas fell down the leaderboard with bogeys at 10 and 13 so the race for the trophy came down to Woods and Goosen. Woods, who won this title in 1999, knocked his second over the green at 15, but chipped to 3 feet to set up birdie and momentarily cut the margin to one.
Goosen, who also won the U.S. Open in 2001, hit a terrible drive into the right rough at 16. He hit a 5-iron to a foot and tapped in the first birdie at 16 all day Sunday.
'I could get to it and hit a smooth 5-iron,' said Goosen, referring to his approach at 16. 'It came out just perfect. I wasn't trying to hit it dead at the flag, just a touch left. Those things happen.'
Woods, now trailing by two, also found the tall grass off the tee at 16. His approach came up 25 feet short, but his birdie putt missed on the right side. Woods missed the 3-footer to save par and was now three back with only two holes to play.
Woods once again drove into the rough at 17 and his second came up short of the green in a patch of thick rough. His chip rolled to 4 feet, but he missed the par putt .
Goosen and Woods both parred the final hole to give Goosen his second win this season and his fifth on the PGA Tour.
'It's great to finish the season off this way,' said Goosen, the fifth-ranked player in the world. 'At the start of the day, I probably thought 11 -or 12- under. When I saw Tiger and Jay got off to a bad start, I thought 9 under was going to be the winning score.'
Goosen pocketed $1,080,000 to finish the season sixth on the PGA Tour money list. He won the European Open and with the U.S. Open prize money counting for the European Tour, he finished second on that circuit's Order of Merit behind Ernie Els.
Woods struggled at times with his ball-striking and his putting in Sunday's final round.
'I started off hitting it really good. I just putted terrible. I had no speed on the greens,' said Woods. 'Then all of a sudden I started putting good and my game went bad. I could never put both of them together.'
Jerry Kelly posted a 5-under 66 and snuck into third place at 6-under-par 274. Former Masters champion Mike Weir (70), Stephen Ames (67) and Mark Hensby (70) shared fourth place at minus-5.
Haas, who at 50 years of age was the oldest player ever to qualify for this event, seemed to run out of gas at the end of the round. He carded a 5-over 75 and tied for seventh place at 4-under-par 276 with Scott Verplank, who shot a 67 on Sunday.
Haas indicated he would come back to the PGA Tour next year, but Sunday's final-round collapse left him with questions.
'I think that when I play rounds like I did the first three days, I feel like I can still do this, and when I play like I did today, I feel like I'm done and I can't do this anymore,' admitted Haas, who will turn 51 in a month. 'I've had bad rounds in the past and it's just disappointing that it came today.'
Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, fired a 5-under 65 and took ninth place at 3-under-par 277. He collected $180,000 and finished the year with a PGA Tour record $10,905,167 in earnings.
Els (67), David Toms (67) and Rory Sabbatini (68) shared 10th at minus-2.
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