Golf: Goosen eases his way ahead

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The Independent Online
Retief Goosen, of South Africa, entered the Slaley Hall Northumberland Challenge with the intention of relaxing after squandering a chance to win the Alamo English Open last week.

He had tied for the lead early in his last round at Forest of Arden but dropped five shots in as many holes and had to settle for a share of 12th place.

Perhaps it was his laid-back approach to this late addition to the PGA European Tour schedule that helped him to a first round six-under-par 66 Johnnie Walker course record. His round contained seven birdies and only one bogey, the result of three-putting the third.

"After the English Open I came here for a relaxing week because I heard it was a nice resort," he said of Slaley, 16 miles east of Newcastle.

He also attributed his recent form to his coach, South African Sam Frost, the brother of the tour professional David.

Goosen, two shots ahead of the chasing pack led by Spain's Juan Carlos Pinero, turned in an unspectacular one-under-par 35 before making his charge on the homeward stretch. He holed from 12 inches at the 10th for the first of his five birdies, the longest putt being some 20 feet at the 16th.