Goosen the king of Sun City

2004-12-05 16:15
Sun City - South Africa's Retief Goosen captured his first Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.

The South African finished with an seven-under-par total of 281 to end up six shots clear of compatriot Ernie Els and Australian Stuart Appleby.

Americans Chris DiMarco and Jim Furyk ended the tournament joint fourth on level par 288 while Englishman Lee Westwood, who led going into the last round, totally imploded on Sunday with a round of 80 to finish three-over for the tournament.

Goosen came close last year when he lost a playoff to Spain's Sergio Garcia. In a total reversal of fortune, Garcia compounded to finish last this year with a 15-over-par 303.

The victory, which brings prize money of $1.2m (about R7m) to the winner, caps a great year for Goosen, who also won his second major at the US Open, the European Tour Championship and the European Open.

Goosen, starting the day on four under par and one shot behind Westwood, fired a five-under 31 on the front nine to be nine-under par for the tournament, five shots clear of the Englishman.

The hole that put daylight between the pair was the par-four eighth, when Westwood made a triple bogey after hitting his tee shot into the trees.

Then, on the par-five ninth, Goosen extended his advantage when his second shot landed some 12 feet from the pin, giving him an easy eagle. Westwood just missed his eagle putt but he did manage a birdie.

After that Westwood just fell apart, but Goosen, for a while at least, seemed to go along for the ride.

They both bogeyed 10, 11 and 13 but Goosen did manage birdies on the par-three 12th with a magnificent 30-foot putt, and the par-five 14th.

The Englishman's challenge, however, continued to recede with further drops on 15, 17 and 18.

None of the other golfers managed to threaten the Goosen lead with Appelby and DiMarco virtually treading water during the final round.

Els had another mercurial round comprising five birdies and four bogeys but the late charge that many were expecting failed to materialise.

Goosen did bogey the last hole but that had no effect on the outcome.

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