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R4: Retief Goosen coasts to 6 shot win at Volkswagen Masters
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Retief Goosen coasts to 6 shot win at Volkswagen Masters

Retief Goosen cruised to a commanding six-shot victory at the Volkswagen Masters-China for his first title in the Asian continent on Sunday.

The South African world number five, who led from the opening round, produced a breath-taking front nine performance at Jinghua Golf Club, shooting a spectacular 29 en route to an eight-under par 64 and a 22-under-par 266 winning total.

US Open champion Michael Campbell, playing alongside Goosen, failed to ignite his game as the Kiwi star settled for second place in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event. He closed with a 69.

Asia 's best performer was Chinese stalwart Zhang Lian-wei, who signed off with a 70 which included an eagle on the par five 12th where he found the bottom of the cup from the greenside bunker. He finished third on 277, 11 strokes behind the runaway winner.

It was Goosen's second title in a month and it took his international tally to 23. His previous victories have been recorded in the United States , Europe , South Africa and Australia . "Obviously, that run of birdies, seven birdies in eight holes got me going ahead. Michael didn't fire on the front nine and I got on to a big lead.

"It's great to win all around the world. I've won in a lot of countries, except in China . So it's good to win here. Hopefully I'll come back and defend next year," said Goosen, who earned US$47,250.

Leading by one stroke going into the last round, Goosen made a huge par save from 15 feet on the first hole. He then stamped his authority with a 20-foot birdie on the second and then reeled off four successive birdies with some crisp iron play and hot putting.

Birdies on eight and nine opened up his lead to seven strokes as Goosen left the chasing pack trailing in his wake. He lipped out for birdie on 10, and hit the cup's edge on 12 for an eagle.

Nothing, it seemed, would unfaze the cool South African, a two-time US Open champion. A wayward drive on 15 ended amongst trees and he sent his second shot into the watery grave. However, in an amazing recovery, Goosen's fourth from thick rough rolled straight into the hole for par, much to the delight of the large gallery. He also holed a 10-footer for par on 17 but bogeyed 18 after missing his drive.

"You know, it's never over till it's over. On 15, it was a big turning point there as I chipped in for par. I knew then that the tournament was over. I holed a very good putt for par on the first hole and then had another long one for birdie on the second, which kind of settled me down a bit. I saw the greens very well today. On the front nine, I saw what the ball was supposed to do. There was no doubt in my mind," said Goosen, winner of the International in the United States last month.

Campbell, the world number 19, could have earned the consolation of winning a Volkswagen Beetle for a hole-in-one on 17 but his five iron tee shot stopped six inches from the cup. However, he was in awe of Goosen's outstanding play. "He played great on the first nine holes. That's good golf and you can't control that. He's a world class player and he showed it.

"I was on the back foot with nine holes to play. He just played awesome. I tried to push things too hard I think. I had my chances on 10 and 11 but it didn't quite work out. All credit to Retief. It would have been nice to win the car for my wife and it was close."

With the crowd willing him on, Zhang , China 's most recognised player, never got his round going, despite a birdie on the first. He bogeyed the third and settled for third position, an improvement of four rungs from last year's inaugural Volkswagen Masters-China.

He paid tribute to his caddie, a lady professional golfer Zhong Xiao-long. "She helped me a lot this week. The pins were difficult today and it was nice to get the eagle from the bunker. It was hard to get close to the pins, especially on the back nine. This gives me confidence for the Singapore Open next week."

Australian David Bransdon finished fourth on 278 after closing with a 73 while compatriots Adam Blyth and Gary Simpson shared fifth place, a further stroke back.

Current Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand finished tied ninth for his fourth top-10 of the season to reinforce his position at the top of the Order of Merit with US$334,113.

Leading final round scores

266 - Retief Goosen (RSA) 64-67-71-64

272 - Michael Campbell (NZL) 67-65-71-69

277 - Zhang Lian-wei (CHN) 69-68-70-70

278 - David Bransdon (AUS) 71-68-66-73

279 - Adam Blyth (AUS) 69-68-68-74, Gary Simpson (AUS) 66-68-72-73

280 - Gary Rusnak (USA) 67-71-71-71, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 68-72-68-72

281 - Li Chao (CHN) 68-75-70-68, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 72-69-71-69, Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 72-68-72-69, Andrew Buckle (AUS) 69-69-72-71, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 71-70-67-73

282 - Prom Meesawat (THA) 70-70-75-67, Edward Michaels (USA) 75-67-72-68, Arjun Singh (IND) 75-69-66-72, Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 70-70-68-74

283 - Edward Loar ( USA ) 71-71-73-68, Kurt Barnes (AUS) 73-72-67-71

284 - Jarrod Lyle (AUS) 72-72-69-71, Anura Rohana (SRI) 70-71-68-75, Scott Barr (AUS) 70-69-70-75, Ron Won (USA) 69-69-69-77

285 - Digvijay Singh (IND) 71-68-74-72, Phillip Price (WAL) 73-70-70-72, Gerald Rosales (PHI) 73-70-69-73, Darren Griff (CAN) 66-76-70-73, Shiv Kapur (IND) 72-71-69-73, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 72-72-68-73

 

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