Goosen lays golden egg to win BellSouth Classic

Posted: Monday, April 08, 2002

DULUTH, Ga. -- Retief Goosen knows how to bounce back from disappointment, which he showed again Sunday in the BellSouth Classic.

The South African won for the second time in an American tournament, overcoming a dismal start to put away Phil Mickelson and claim a four-stroke victory over Jesper Parnevik.

Goosen closed with a 2-under-par 70 in difficult conditions on the TPC at Sugarloaf, finishing at 16-under 272.

Parnevik, who posted 65 early in the day for a 276, wasn't even around when the winner finished.

Mickelson appeared to be Goosen's main challenger, starting the final round two strokes back. The left-hander briefly claimed the lead, only to fade to a 73 and wind up five shots behind.

''Phil did not play as well as he would have liked,'' Goosen said. ''I was just trying to hang in there.''

Goosen headed off to the Masters -- about a two-hour drive away -- with the kind of short game that makes him a contender for his second major championship.

The first came last summer, when Goosen won the U.S. Open at Southern Hills in an 18-hole playoff over Mark Brooks. Goosen missed an 18-inch putt that would have given him the victory in regulation, but he put that bitter experience out of his mind and beat Brooks by two strokes.

Goosen needed similar tunnel vision on Sunday. He started his round with a bogey, then took a double-bogey at the par-3 second, requiring two shots just to escape a bunker.

After beginning the day with a two-stroke advantage over Mickelson, Goosen suddenly found himself two shots behind.

''That was quite a start,'' he said. ''I just concentrated on staying focused. I knew there were still 16 holes to play.''

Mickelson birdied the second hole, but struggled the rest of the way. Errant iron play -- he hit only five of 18 greens in regulation -- and shaky putting negated the impact of his booming drives.

''I hit a lot of good shots, but it was so hard to get the ball close to the flag,'' Mickelson said. ''It's hard to describe.''

The greens were Augusta-like after drying out in four days of sun and steady breezes. Parnevik was one of only three players who broke 70.

Some of the scores were downright ugly: Steve Elkington, who was tied for the lead midway through the tournament, signed for an 81 that included five bogeys and three double-bogeys.

Goosen turned things around at the par-5 fourth hole. After knocking his second shot to the right of the green, he chipped in from 100 feet away for an eagle.

Mickelson, meanwhile, was having all sorts of trouble at the same hole. He yanked his tee shot into a bunker on the right side, then banged his second shot into the creek that meanders left of the fairway.

The ball ricocheted off a rock and came to rest in tall grass on the other side. That fortunate bounce didn't prevent Mickelson from taking bogey.

Goosen did a better job of scrambling, using his short irons time and time again to escape trouble. At No. 7, his second shot sailed into the gallery. After workers removed a sign that blocked his view of the flag, Goosen pitched off the pine straw and over some television wires, the ball rolling to a stop about 5 feet from the hole. He made that to save par.

Those kind of shots will come in handy at the Masters.

''It's similar greens, and similar shots into the greens,'' Goosen said. ''There's some great lessons learned here for next week.''

Mickelson's hopes were dashed.

at the eighth, where he missed a 7-footer for par. On 18, he went for the green from 267 yards and hit a wild shot that landed in the middle of the lake. He wound up with a bogey, knocking him to third and reducing his paycheck by $76,000.

Goosen's irons allowed him to cruise on the back nine. He sank a short birdie putt at 12, a 10-footer for another birdie at 16 and parred the rest of the holes to win easily.

Parnevik appeared to shoot himself out of contention with a 76 on Saturday. He played 11 strokes better in the final round and finished brilliantly at 18: a 249-yard 5-wood over the water, followed by a putt that went in from nearly 60 feet away.

The Swede, who had a hole-in-one earlier in the tournament, urged the ball along as it crept toward the cup and threw up both hands when it dropped.

''I thought if I can play the last four holes 3-under par, I still have a chance,'' said Parnevik, who did just that. ''I hit the best 5-wood I've ever hit and one of the best putts, so there you go.''

Defending champion Scott McCarron made a charge on the back nine, putting together four straight birdies to finish at 68. He was six strokes back, alone in fourth.

Legends of Golf

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Doug Tewell added to his impressive senior tour resume with a victory in the Legends of Golf.

Tewell shot 2-under 70 to finish the tournament at 11-under 205, one stroke better than Bobby Wadkins, who made a late run with a 66 in the final round.

Stewart Ginn shot 72 to tie with Bob Gilder (70) for third at 8 under.

The 52-year-old Tewell won for the second time this season.

He also has two senior major championships to his name and is the most accurate driver on the Senior PGA Tour (86 percent). He only improved the numbers over three days on the King & Bear Course at World Golf Village.

He hit all 14 fairways Sunday and finished the tournament hitting 41 of 42. The only one he missed came Friday at No. 7, when he hooked a drive to the left.

Portuguese Open

FARO, Portugal -- Carl Pettersson survived four days of wind and rain to win the Portuguese Open in a one-hole shoot-out with David Gilford.

After a six-hour wait to tee off in a third round that never materialized, Pettersson beat Gilford with a par at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff for his first European Tour victory.

Both Pettersson, a Swede based in the Raleigh, N.C., and Gilford, from England, finished at 2-under 142 for the two rounds.

Gilford hit his approach shot on the playoff hole, the 18th, through the green and into the rough soaked by thunderstorms, then took three to get up and down for bogey. Pettersson hit a 6-iron to 20 feet and two-putted for par to win a spot on the European PGA Tour through 2004.

Office Depot

LOS ANGELES -- Se Ri Pak outplayed Annika Sorenstam to win the Office Depot Championship on Sunday, denying Sorenstam her second comeback victory in a row in the tournament.

Pak, who led Sorenstam by three shots going into the last round of the 54-hole event, carded a 1-over-par 73 to finish at 7-under 209, one stroke in front of Sorenstam. She had a closing 71.

A year ago, Sorenstam shot a 66 to come from 10 shots behind leader Pat Hurst on the final day, then beat Mi Hyun Kim on the first hole of a playoff.

The 31-year-old Swede sent the tournament down to the wire again this time, with a birdie on the 17th hole to draw within one shot of Pak, who bogeyed the hole.

But Sorenstam's winding 30-foot birdie try on No. 18 curved just past the hole. Then Pak's birdie putt from 20 feet stopped one rotation short of the cup, leaving the 24-year-old from South Korea to tap-in for par and the win.

The victory, worth $150,000 of the $1 million purse, was her 14th since she joined the LPGA Tour in 1998.



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