Retief Goosen on Friday criticised the set-up of the Fancourt Links after finishing the second round six shots off the pace in the Volvo Golf Champions.
The two-time SA Open champion – he won the last of his crowns here at Fancourt in 2005 – is unhappy at the amount of moisture on the course.
“The course is extremely soft and I’m quite surprised. I had two tee shots today that came back on the fairway and yesterday I had another that had mud on it. You’re playing a links out there and it’s playing like a parkland, so it’s quite disappointing the way they are setting it up.
“There’s no wind and the course is drenched – that’s why there’s so much low scoring out there,” Goosen said.
The 42-year-old nevertheless tackled the conditions with aplomb, getting straight down to business with birdies at the first two holes, and Goosen said a good start and consistent ball-striking had led him to his five-under-par 68 on Friday.
Goosen parred the next five holes, before claiming another pair of birdies at the eighth and ninth holes. Further birdies on the 11th and 13th holes lifted the two-time US Open champion to six-under for the round and in touch with the leaders, but the course bit back as he bogeyed the par-four 14th and 15th holes. But Goosen regained one of the strokes with a birdie on the par-five 16th.
Playing partner Lee Slattery would have an even better day as he put together a brilliant eight-under-par 65 that lifted him into a tie for second with South African Thomas Aiken.
“You have to be a bit more aggressive on this course, you just have to take on a few more shots,” Slattery said. “It was just one of them rounds I’m going to remember for the rest of my life and hopefully it can kickstart something for me. I think it’s probably the best round of my career, with it being such a big event, with so many great players and playing with Retief.”
Goosen, Slattery and English amateur Mark Vandenburghe combined brilliantly to win the Volvo World Golf Challenge.
The top 18 finishers in the World Golf Final qualified to play with the professionals on Friday and the 50-year-old Vandenberghe, Goosen and Slattery finished on a combined 18-under-par total of 128, to beat Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, England’s Simon Dyson and Austrian amateur Henning Frech by three shots.
The three-ball’s prize was a brand new Volvo for each golfer, which brightened Goosen’s mood considerably.
“How great is this? I didn’t even have to make a hole-in-one,” Goosen said.