South Africa’s Retief Goosen continued his good form at The Players Championship with a 12th-place finish that promised more at one stage during the final round. Despite ending eight shots behind winner Jason Day on seven-under-par, Goosen will take positives away from TPC Sawgrass this week.
On Friday he extended his run to ten cuts made in a row before a solid round of two-under-par 70 on Saturday brought him into contention. Starting Sunday at eight-under-par, the two-time US Open winner picked up a shot at the second before giving it back at the next hole. A string of pars followed before a birdie at the ninth allowed the Goose to turn in one-under-par 35.
The seven-time PGA Tour winner was in the thick of things at nine-under-par for the tournament going into the stretch, joining a group of group players chasing second spot. His back nine was disappointing and, coupled with players ahead of him making moves in the right direction, the 14-time European Tour winner began to fade. Goosen failed to make a birdie on the stretch and gave back shots on the 11th and 14th to sign for a one-over-par 73.
While South African fans may feel a little disappointed that the two-time SA Open champion couldn’t mount a charge on the back nine, Goosen’s finish must be applauded when considering his recent injury woes. He was the top South African in the field and four shots clear of next-best Louis Oosthuizen. Goosen came into the week ranked 163rd in the world, far behind the likes of Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, which made him a surprise contender.
At the age of 47 he gave fans a glimpse of the past and showed that he still has the game to compete in the top echelon of professional golf. His form is getting better and the next step for Goosen will be to crack a top-10 finish on tour, something he has yet to do in 2016.