Retief Goosen was woken up in the early hours of Thursday morning but he showed no sign of fatigue, snatching the early clubhouse lead in the British Open first round.
”I woke up at 2am because of the rain,” the 39-year-old South African told reporters after defying atrocious conditions to shoot a one-over-par 71 at Royal Birkdale.
”My tee time was just before 8am and I got to the practice range at 7am but it was too cold and wet. I hung around for a while and eventually had to brave it.”
Goosen was so keen to avoid the bad weather leading up to the championship that, unlike many of the players, he restricted himself to only one practice round.
”I got here yesterday at about midday and played 18 holes,” said the twice US Open champion. ”I think it was a pretty good move.
”They were similar conditions yesterday so I figured I didn’t want to play in this sort of weather too much.
”I thought I was warming up more standing inside in the warm than hitting balls outside,” he joked.
Driving rain and gusting 50km/h winds made it extremely difficult for all the players but Goosen looked on it as a positive.
”I don’t mind tough conditions,” he said after boosting his confidence with a chip-in from 20 yards to rescue a par-four at the sixth.
”In a way you sort of feel maybe half the field are not sort of trying any more because they are tough conditions.
”If you grind away and shoot something around par, you are not going to be that far off the lead. I like that in a way, you have to work for your pars.
”I am not very comfortable on courses where you have to shoot 20 under par to win.”
Goosen has chalked up a total of 20 victories on the European and US PGA tours although the last one was back in January 2007 at the Qatar Masters.
”I am starting to play better,” he said. ”I am hitting a few good rounds and just need to put four together.
”That has been a problem, a little bit of consistency.” – Reuters