It wasn’t the finish Retief Goosen might have wanted of, but it was good enough to win.
Goosen missed a 5-foot par putt on the 18th hole but escaped with a one-stroke victory Sept. 11 at the Linde German Masters.
The victory moved Goosen to the top of the PGA European Tour Order of Merit.
The two-time U.S. Open champion, who won The International Aug. 7 on the PGA Tour, led by two shots heading to the last hole and closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 20-under 268.
Goosen sent his tee shot into the brush on the 18th. The South African was forced to take a drop and blasted an excellent 150-yard shot from the rough, but he failed to make the putt and was left with a bogey.
“I hit a 9-iron perfectly to get close to the hole, then unfortunately hit the par putt a little too hard,” he said.
Henrik Stenson (68), Jose Maria Olazabal (66), Nick Dougherty (68) and David Lynn (67) all finished at 269. Stenson and Dougherty, playing behind Goosen, had a chance to catch him but parred the final hole.
“I saw what happened, yes, and I knew I needed a birdie at the 18th to catch him, but it wasn’t to be,” said Dougherty, who won the Caltex Masters in January.
Goosen, part of a four-way tie for the lead after 54 holes, recovered from a double bogey on the second hole Sunday that cost him a share of the lead.
“That was not the way I wanted to start,” he said. “I’ve had some bad rounds this year, especially some final rounds.”
At the U.S. Open this summer, he led by three strokes heading into the final day and finished with an 81.
On Sunday, however, Goosen made four birdies in the next five holes after the double, then pulled away with four birdies in six holes to start his back nine on a windless day at the Gut Laerchenhof course. Goosen earned 500,000 euros for his 12th title on the European Tour and passed Michael Campbell as Europe’s top money leader this season.
“To finally win one here is great,” Goosen said. “I have never done well in the past around this golf course, but this week the weather was great and my putter got hot and I holed a lot of putts.”
David Howell finished two strokes back with a 270 after a 66, and fellow Ryder Cup player Paul Casey was another stroke back after a final-round 66.
– Staff and wire reports