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Goosen's hot start derailed by bogeys

Friday, April 08, 2011


Retief Goosen jumped to the lead of the Masters Tournament early Thursday when his ball dove into the cup on the first hole for an eagle. After a birdie on the par-5 15th, only Rory McIlroy stood between the two-time U.S. Open winner and the top.

Retief Goosen eagled the first hole Thursday, but three closing bogeys left him at 70 in the first round of his 13th Masters. (Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff)

But Goosen stumbled down the stretch, bogeying the last three holes to card 70 -- five shots off the pace.

"The front nine certainly played a lot easier than the back played," Goosen said afterward. "They set it up on the front nine for a lot of good scoring, and that's what I did."

Goosen sank his second shot from the left side of the fairway for a rare eagle on No. 1, hitting an 8-iron from 161 yards.

He followed that with birdies at Nos. 3 and 4. He birdied the eighth hole and made the turn at 5-under par.

Then the putts quit falling. Goosen bogeyed five of the last nine holes and finished the back nine with a 3-over-par 39.

"It was nice, and then two bad, three bad shots, really, in the last three holes cost me bogeys," he said.

Goosen, who finished second in the 2002 and 2007 Masters, recorded a career-high 10 top-10 finishes last year on the PGA Tour. But he has struggled so far this season, he said.

"I hit the ball terrible and I'm really struggling with my game mentally-wise too," he said. "I'm actually taking a month break after this just to see if I might freshen up for (The Players Championship)."

Still, Goosen said he was happy with his game -- for at least half the round. If he can right his mistakes, he knows he can get back into contention.

"Hopefully I can pick up where I started (Thursday), not where I finished," he said. "If I can get a nice solid round in (today), I can be up there for the weekend."

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