Retief Goosen fired an 8-under-par 63, the lowest round of the week, to break away from the pack Sunday and win the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club.
The two-time major champion from South Africa entered the final round trailing countryman Ernie Els by a stroke. But he soared ahead with an eagle-birdie-birdie start, made the turn in 5-under 30 and added four birdies and a lone bogey on the back nine.
At 15-under 198, Goosen bested South Korea’s K.J. Choi by four shots. Lee Janzen and Canadian Stephen Ames tied for third at 9 under.
“The swing felt great, I drove it nicely this week, a lot of good iron shots,” Goosen said. “I can’t complain. Obviously you win by three or four, you played well.”
Goosen was grateful for the victory after returning from offseason shoulder surgery.
“At this age there’s always going to be something niggling,” he said. “For me it was the shoulder last year. I had it injected three times last year and it just didn’t want to go away and the doctor said best thing is to just get it operated on.”
Goosen’s eagle at the par-4 first hole came when he holed out from a greenside bunker.
“No. 1, it was a tricky bunker shot coming out of that bunker and you had to fly it over that ridge,” Goosen said. “So my main goal was to obviously land it up there as far as I can and I was thinking if I hit a good shot, it will probably finish 5 feet past the hole. It just came out a little hotter than I expected and hit the flag and went straight in.
“It was very, very lucky. Whenever you hit a flag it could go anywhere, it could have come back off the green.”
It marked Goosen’s second win on the 50-and-over circuit and his first since 2019, when he won the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.
Choi posted a 5-under 66, finishing strong with four birdies, a bogey and a par over his last six holes. Ames shot a 67 and Janzen turned in a 69.
Doug Barron and Tim Petrovic both shot 67 and finished tied for fifth at 7 under. Els, who was the defending champion, dropped out of contention quickly when he made four of his six bogeys on the front nine. He carded a 2-over 73 and finished solo seventh at 6 under.
–Field Level Media
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