It was 20 years ago that Retief Goosen won the US Open at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and on Sunday he came third on the same course in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Goosen closed with a four-under-par 66 to share third with KJ Choi, while Alex Cejka of Germany continued his hot streak to take his first senior major championship with a tournament total of eight-under-par. He was four shots clear of runner-up Tim Petrovic of the United States.
“It’s obviously always great coming back here and, I would have liked to have been more in contention, really,” said Goosen. “I like the feel of the course, the elevations, you always need to work something into the green or off the tee box and it’s not just an open field and off you go. I love the greens. I like these greens that have a lot of breaks and stuff like that.”
Goosen began his pursuit of the title with consecutive birdies on the opening holes, but he dropped a shot on the fifth. He quickly regained control of his round with birdies on seven and nine ahead of the turn. Birdies on 16 and 17 got him to five-under for the round, but he dropped a shot on the closing hole to finish one shot back of Petrovic.
“The course was very inconsistent this week,” said Goosen. “We had so much rain in the beginning of the week and it was very slow. And then it got a little quicker on Thursday. And then got slow again. Finally today the course has started to speed up a little bit. So it’s a pity it didn’t play like this all week, I would have loved that. But I just had too many inconsistencies on the greens, because one day they were quick, next day they were slow, so it was a struggle to get a consistent roll going throughout the week.
Behind Goosen, Ernie Els closed with a two-under 68 to finish well in a share of 16th. Chris Williams and David Frost both missed the cut.
Goosen is hoping to get back to one of his favourite places sometime soon as his game rounds into shape. “I’m feeling like my swing is getting a little better now that we’re getting into the swing of the season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks and hopefully I can pull out a win.
“I don’t know when there’s another event back here, but otherwise I’ll probably come and play when I’m 80 one day.”