South Africa’s Retief Goosen overturned a one stroke deficit on the final hole to win his first tournament in over a year and give him a perfect start to the 2007 season at the Qatar Masters in Doha on Sunday.
Trailing Australia’s Nick O’Hern by one shot on the eighteenth tee, Goosen holed a mammoth 50-foot putt on the final green for eagle amid dramatic scenes. O’Hern, who was chasing the first European Tour win of his career, could only make a par 5 on the final hole after finding the rough with his tee shot. Goosen, who had also made birdie on the 17th, therefore condemned his playing partner to his seventh European Tour runners-up position with his sensational eagle three – when it had looked that O’Hern was a certainty to at least force a play-off.
Goosen, O’Hern and Australia’s Richard Green had started the day tied for the lead on -12 and all three men were quickly looking over their shoulders at Stuart Appleby and Ernie Els, who made rapid early progress up the leaderboard. However, despite the early charge their challenges proved too little too late and the dramatic finish was focused on the final group.
“It’s a great honour to finally be the champion here and finally win a tournament for the first time since the end of 2005,” said the 38 year-old Goosen, a double US Open champion.
“It’s nice to get one early as it sets you up for the rest of the year. I told myself that I had to make birdie on the final two holes to have a chance and I actually did even better than that.”
Els eventually finished in third place on -13 after a final round of 67, with Appleby, Green and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell a stroke further behind. Swedish Ryder Cup star Henrik Stenson was one of the players tied on -11 and will have been satisfied with his week’s work.
QATAR MASTERS – LEADING SCORES
Doha Golf Club, Qatar
-15 R Goosen (RSA)
-14 N O’Hern (Aus)
-13 E Els (RSA)
-12 S Appleby (Aus)
-12 R Green (Aus)
-12 G McDowell (GB)