NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Newport Beach is a popular tourist destination in California. Retief Goosen went out for eagle from a greenside bunker on the short par-4 first hole, birdied the following two holes, and won the Hoag Classic by four strokes on Sunday.
Goosen, who started the round a stroke behind fellow South African star Ernie Els, swiftly pulled away at Newport Beach Country Club in windy but calmer conditions than the players endured on Saturday.
Goosen’s long drive hit the flagstick and sank in the cup without touching the green after hitting his first drive into the left bunker.
Goosen explained, “You had to fly it over that ridge.” “So, obviously, my major goal was to get it up there as far as possible, and I was thinking that if I hit a decent shot, it would probably finish 5 feet past the hole.”
“It just came out a little hotter than I anticipated, so it smacked the flag and went straight in.” It was a stroke of luck. When you strike a flag, it could travel anywhere, including back onto the green.
In the bunker, he had an unnatural stance.
Goosen explained, “I was up against the left lip.” “It was a little weird.” Despite the fact that I was situated on an uphill lay, the ball was far below my feet. It wasn’t easy to settle in on this one. Yeah, it came out a little hot, as I said.”
Goosen finished with a score of 15-under-par 198. The two-time U.S. Open champion won for the second time on the 50-and-over tour after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason. He also took home the Senior Players Award for 2019.
Goosen added a birdie on the par-4 sixth to his early 4-under run. He birdied the par-3 10th, followed up a bogey on the par-4 11th with birdies on the par-4 12th and par-5 15th, and a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.
After a 66, K.J. Choi finished second.
Goosen explained, “I was keeping my eye on K.J. in front of me.” “I knew I had to keep making birdies because I was seeing him make them.”
At 9 under, Lee Janzen (69) and Stephen Ames (67) tied for third. Doug Barron and Tim Petrovic both shot 67 for a 7-under total.
After a 73, Els was in sixth place at 6 under par. He won the event the last time it was held, in 2020.
Goosen, Els, and Janzen were all two-time US Open champions in the final group.
“Today on the course, we had a terrific chemistry between the three of us,” Goosen remarked.
Bernhard Langer finished in a tie for seventh place at 5 under par with a 70. The 64-year-old German legend, who won the Chubb Classic in 2008, won his 43rd senior victory two weeks ago in Florida, two behind Hale Irwin for the tour record. Langer holds the record for being the oldest winner in the history of the tour.
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