Goosen, Fisher rue sloppy finishes

Retief Goosen is ruing the fact that he failed to build on his spectacular eagle start at the Masters on Thursday.

Retief Goosen is ruing the fact that he failed to build on his spectacular eagle start at the Masters and finished with a disappointing first-round 2-under 70.

And earlier starter Ross Fisher feels thje same way about his 69

Goosen, a two-time US Open champion and twice a runner up at Augusta National, began in perfect style when he holed his approach shot to the 445-yard first for an amazing eagle that was only the fifth at this hole in the 75 years of the Masters.

The South African then carded birdies at the third and fourth, and another at the long eighth to take the lead at 5 under when he time with a 31.

But he struggled around the infamous Amen Corner where bogeyed 11 and 12 and although he got them back with birdies at 13 and 15, he lost ground again in his see-saw round as he picked up more bogies at each of the last three holes..

“The front nine certainly played a lot easier than the back played,” he said afterwards.

“They set it up on the front nine for a lot of good scoring and that’s what I did.

“Then on the back nine, I was in the trees too much. Three bad shots in the last three holes cost me bogeys. So I’ve got to get away from those bad ones.”

Like Goosen, England’s Ross Fisher, who had grabbed the early clubhouse lead but then let it slip through his fingers, also came away from day one feeling some disappointment at not having scored better than his 3-under 69.

Setting out in the very first group of the day in perfect conditions at Augusta, the Englishman made a poor start with a bogey at the first hole before dropping another at the tough par-three fourth.

Against this the 30-year-old Ryder Cup player also made birdie at the second and went on to do the same at the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth holes to reach the turn in three-under 33.

He continued to charge on the back nine with a birdie at 11, but dropped another shot at the 17th and eventually carded a 3-under 69 to be four off the hot pace set by a charging McIlroy..

“I felt like I played very nicely today,” Fisher said. “I holed some real good putts. Any time you can make five birdies on the front nine is very pleasing.

“I was just trying to take some momentum into the back nine. I holed a monster on 11, I made a great save on 12 out of the front trap, but I wanted to birdie the par-fives and unfortunately I didn’t do that.

“It was a shame to drop one on 17 – I just didn’t hit a good drive.”

On his 2009 debut in the event, Fisher stormed out in front on the opening day at five-under after 16, but bogeyed the last two for “only” a 69 and eventually finished down in 30th spot.

“I’m walking off a little bit disappointed after not making birdies at the two par fives on the back nine and then dropping a shot,” he said.


Even if he maintains his early momentum, however, Fisher is not guaranteed to stay the week.

His wife Jo is expecting the couple’s second child at the start of next week and Fisher has already said he is unsure what he will do if the birth comes early.

Two years ago Fisher’s wife was also pregnant and despite entering the final round of the Open at Turnberry one shot off the lead, he vowed to drop everything and return home if she went into labour.

“Hopefully it’s not like last time, she hung on and I didn’t,” he added. “Hopefully I can hang on this time.”