Goosen Enjoys Career First at Volkswagen Masters-China

Sun 15 Oct 2006

Goosen Enjoys Career First at Volkswagen Masters-China

Sanya, China, October 16: Retief Goosen of South Africa retained his Volkswagen Masters-China title by three strokes on Sunday after a one-under-par 71 delivered a first successful title defence of his illustrious career.

The world number seven finished the week with an impressive 21-under-par 267 total at Yalong Bay Golf Club for his 26th career victory, but his first of 2006.

New Zealand's Michael Campbell was runner-up for a second successive year after a closing 68. Little-known Scotsman Simon Dunn enjoyed his career best finish on the Asian Tour when he came in third, four behind the champion, after a matching 68 in the US$300,000 event.

Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng surged into a share of fourth place with England's Yasin Ali following a 64 while Chinese Taipei's Lu Wen-teh, playing in the final group, settled for sixth place on 274.

Goosen's triumph was worth US$47,550 and he was pleased to end his jinx by winning the Volkswagen Masters-China in successive years. "It's a great feeling to defend a title. It's the first time I've won a professional title back to back. I've done it before as an amateur, so it will be great coming back next year to give myself a chance of making it a hat-trick," said Goosen, a two-time Major winner

Taking a five-stroke lead into the last round, Goosen started tentatively with a bogey on the fifth hole before battling back with birdies on seven and nine to turn in 35. Campbell, the 2005 US Open champion, failed to ignite his title charge with two bogeys in his opening four holes but fought back in style with an inward 30 for second place.

Dunn, who has only made one cut on the Asian Tour this season, chased hard as well and could have reduced Goosen's lead to three shots on the 16th but missed an easy birdie attempt from three feet.

While the chasing pack never quite got close to Goosen, the smooth-swinging South African said an eight-foot par save on the par five 13th hole was crucial. "It was an up and down day. I made a lot of bad mistakes. It was very frustrating as I felt I should have played a bit better but at the end of the day you just want to finish ahead.

"I made mistakes but I kept my score together. I think that putt on 13 sort of settled me down as I wasn't sure what Dunn was doing ahead of me. If I didn't par, my lead would have been two or three shots. That putt was the turn around putt for me as it kept me going and kept me in front," said Goosen.

Campbell conceded that his desperation to catch Goosen early on had backfired. "I think I just pushed too hard too soon. I wanted to make some birdies and went in there too hard and it cost me a couple of bogeys. I was two over after four holes and it was hard to come back from that," he said.

He battled gamely with six birdies on the inward nine, but a par on the easy 16th where he dumped his three wood approach into water ended any hopes of a late charge. "I tried the impossible shot really on the 16th. It was a one in a hundred shot and it didn't come off. It could have been eagle or even birdie to make it closer. I'll be back next year, I'll be back," said the Kiwi.

Dunn was delighted that he gave the Major champions a run for their money with his five-birdie round. "I played well to finish a few shots behind some of the best players in the world. It's a good finish," said Dunn.

"I'm thrilled. Going into today, Retief was too far ahead. I played pretty well but made two mistakes on 12 where I bogeyed from the edge of the green and didn't make birdie on 16 (where he missed from three feet).

"At one stage, when Retief was 20 under, I was 16 under. I had a few birdie putts in a row and I missed and Retief stepped on the pedal and he went off again. I think if I had holed everything I would have got close. But maybe not close enough!"

Leading final round scores

267 - Retief Goosen (RSA) 64-65-67-71

270 - Michael Campbell (NZL) 64-68-70-68

271 - Simon Dunn (SCO) 68-69-66-68

273 - Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 74-70-65-64, Yasin Ali (ENG) 66-69-69-69

274 - Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 63-69-69-73

277 - Chinarat Phadungsil (THA) 72-68-64-73

278 - Frankie Minoza (PHI) 73-69-67-69

279 - Iain Steel (MAS) 75-69-68-67, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 72-69-70-68, Adam Blyth (AUS) 69-71-70-69, Ross Bain (SCO) 68-67-74-70, Unho Park (AUS) 72-71-65-71

280 - Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-69-68-71, Kane Webber (AUS) 70-69-68-73, Li Chao (CHN) 70-70-67-73, Michael Wright (AUS) 70-72-65-73

281 - Chapchai Nirat (THA) 73-68-72-68, Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 74-70-69-68, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 72-73-67-69, Lu Wei-lan (TPE) 70-70-71-70, Anthony Kang (USA) 70-68-71-72, Tony Lascuna (PHI) 68-72-67-74

282 - Danny Chia (MAS) 67-71-76-68, Corey Harris (USA) 73-70-70-69, Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 72-69-70-71, Simon Griffiths (ENG) 73-69-65-75