Easiest hole at the Sony Open Sunday? The downwind, par-5 18th, where most players were only a driver and iron away from a reasonable look at eagle.
That’s all Retief Goosen was left with after playing 16 great holes in a row.
After a bogey on the first hole, the South African went on a tear, going 8 under over the next 16 holes. He moved from 4 under and in 23rd place at the start of the day to 12 under after a birdie on the 17th to move into a share of the lead with Ryan Palmer, who hadn’t even made the turn yet as the wind started to move the palm trees of Waialae Country Club.
Goosen thought he had a chance to get in the mix after a 14-foot birdie putt moved him to 10 under on the 14th hole; but sitting in the right side of the fairway, 218 yards out on the 18th hole had to really get his heart racing.
In between a 5- and 6-iron, Goosen didn’t want to make a mistake long but felt he needed to hit the shot harder than may have seemed necessary for the left front hole location. He chose the 6-iron and ended up in the front left greenside bunker.
From there he left himself a 7-footer, but missed that putt and tapped in for par.
Goosen’s 70 on Saturday may have put him behind the 8-ball, but it’s the 6-iron that he came out of Sunday that likely cost him the tournament.