'Goose' claims third French win

Retief Goosen wins for the third time in France, ousting Darren Clarke and Michael Campbell in the Trophee Lancome

Martin Park
Mon, 18 Sep 2000

'Goose' claims third French win

France has been good to Retief Goosen and the hospitality improved as the 31-year-old South African claimed his third French title by winning the Trophee Lancome yesterday with a last round 67 to finish one shot clear of Michael Campbell and Darren Clarke.

Goosen, who won the French Open in 1997 and 1999 battled with Volvo Order of Merit leader Darren Clarke, Kiwi Cambo, Masters Champion Vijay Singh and Alex Cejka of Germany to win his first event of 2000, just months after being sacked by his caddie Glen Murray.

Murray moved on in favour of Sergio Garcia's bag and Goosen, who used Murray as both a confident and part time golf teacher has struggled to find his form ever since.

The win came after an outstanding weekend in which he was 11 under for the last two rounds which included a 64 in the worst conditions of the week on Saturday.

"I've not been playing well this season," said Goosen. "I struggled with my motivation but started practising hard and hitting the ball better. I had a lesson from Nick Price and since then I've been striking the ball much better.

"I've played terrible compared to last year, it's been a funny season year," Goosen said. "I started off well but had a bit of slump and was fired by my caddy in America. I was playing so bad he went off to work for Sergio Garcia.

"I had four different caddies in four tournaments which put me off, my confidence level was really low, I just wasn't motivated and didn't bother to work out in the gym for about three months.

"But then I got another caddy on the bag, a guy called Greg Hearman that I had known for a while and it's been really good on the course, we have a great time out there.

"I also had a lesson from Nick Price at the NEC Invitational and it's all started to come together. It's great to win again because for eight months it hasn't been fun out there but I had a good time this week."

Cejka began the day two shots clear of the field, but that advantage disappeared on the first when he made a double-bogey six.

The German fought back well with a birdie on the fifth and eagle on the sixth to stay in the hunt. But Goosen pulled ahead with three successive birdies from the fourth.

Another birdie on the eighth gave him an outward half of 32. Two more birdies immediately after the turn took him clear and on the way to the £133,330 first prize.

Clarke birdied the 16th and 17th for a final round of 68 and extended his lead at the top of the Volvo Order of Merit ahead of Lee Westwood.

Campbell went one better with a 67 after matching Clarke's birdies at 16 and 17, while Cejka finished with a 71.