Goosen faces tough challenge at Masters

If not for number 18, Retief Goosen would be in great shape.

The two-time United States Open champion is six over, four strokes off the lead, going into the final round of the Masters. But he’s played the par-four 18th at four over through the first three rounds, including a bogey on Saturday.

Make par on 18 the first three days, and it would be Goosen, not Tiger Woods, playing with Stuart Appleby in the final group on Sunday.

”It was a disappointing finish,” Goosen said. ”It would have been nice to get a couple in in the last few holes as I would have been right back in it.”

Still, Goosen did make the biggest move of the day, jumping into a tie for eighth from 46th place.

With chilly temperatures and a gusty north wind causing scores to balloon across the leaderboard, Goosen had the only sub-par round in the field, a two-under 70. Woods and Lee Westwood were the only players who even got close, each shooting 72.

The field averaged 77,35 strokes, the highest-scoring round since Augusta switched to Bentgrass greens in 1981.

”Retief shot a fantastic score and probably played in colder conditions,” said Appleby, who teed off about three-and-a-half hours after Goosen. ”I’m sure his round would have been littered with some par saves, near misses.”

Starting on number seven, Goosen had birdies on three of the next five holes to bump himself up the leaderboard. He had another birdie on the par-five 15th, hitting a sand wedge to three feet.

But he found himself in trouble — again — on 18. He hit a five-iron to the right side of the green and then chipped to the fringe before two-putting. He bogeyed the hole on Thursday, and made double on Friday after losing a ball in the trees.

Goosen is well aware that might be too much to overcome on Sunday. ”I might be a little bit too far behind,” he said, ”unless I shoot 64 or something tomorrow.” — Sapa-AP

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