Goosen wins Galleri Classic to grab first title in two years

golf01 April 2024 03:30| © Reuters

A championship dry spell came to an end on Sunday as South Africa's Retief Goosen shot a final-round, 3-under 69 to win the Galleri Classic at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Goosen, a World Golf Hall of Famer, has just two victories to his name on the PGA Tour Champions and none since March 2022 at the Hoag Classic. Before that, Goosen won at the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship in 2019.

Beyond that, it had been five runner-up finishes and 21 top-five honours, but no other hardware.

Goosen, who finished the tournament at 13-under 203 amid rough, rainy conditions, said he "was just hanging in."

His drought was in danger of continuing as Goosen went into the final hole tied atop the leaderboard with New Zealand's Steven Alker, and on his second shot he sent it into the water.

But Alker proceeded to do the same, and Goosen rallied for par while Alker carded a bogey, giving Goosen the win.

Goosen's day included three birdies and no bogeys, including his par save on No 18.

"I'm glad it flipped my way," Goosen said. "Yeah, it was a really bad second shot, the ball a little bit above my feet and the ball was sitting up so nicely. I was in between a 5 (iron) and a 4 and I thought I'll just hit a smooth 4. I thought Steve was going to lay up and just go from there. When he hit in the water, it was a bit of a shock."

Alker's troubles actually began a hole earlier, as after playing nearly flawless golf through 16 holes with four birdies and no stumbles, he three-putted for bogey on No 17, opening the door for Goosen in the first place.

"Yeah, obviously some disappointment to finish," Alker said. "I didn't do too much in terms of ball-striking, didn't do too much wrong. I kind of hit the shots I wanted and went with them. Just didn't make some putts I should have, the three-putt on 17 there. So felt fine, my long game felt good, just didn't get it done."

On Friday, Goosen had gotten off to a hot start, birdieing his first three holes, and then adding four more to grab a share of the lead after the first round.

Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina grabbed the headlines on Saturday with a course-record, 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead, but his final-round 1-under 71 left him a stroke shy of a tiebreaker. He finished in a tie for second with Alker and Germany's Alex Cejka (4-under 68).

David Toms, last year's winner, was the top American finisher in fifth place after his 3-under 69 landed him at 11-under 205 for the tournament, two strokes behind Goosen.