Retief Goosen Wins Galleri Classic With Help From Steven Alker

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Retief Goosen hit into the water on the par-5 18th hole and saved par to win The Galleri Classic on Sunday with a 3-under 69 and with plenty of help from the blunders of Steven Alker.

Goosen and Alker were tied for the lead going to the final hole at Mission Hills. Goosen was on the edge of a bunker and hit a 4-iron so thin that it splashed twice in the water that surrounds the 18th green on the Dinah Shore Tournament course.

Instead of laying up, Alker also chose to go for the green. His 5-iron narrowly cleared the pond, but bounced back into the water. He pitched onto the green and missed his par putt.

Goosen took his penalty drop, hit wedge to 8 feet and rolled in the par putt for a one-shot victory that he never saw coming. It was his third career win on the PGA Tour Champions.

On the par-3 17th, Goosen was in a bunker left of the green and hit out to 4 feet to save par. Alker had a lengthy birdie putt that he rammed some 10 feet by and three-putted.

“I’m glad it flipped my way,” Goosen said.

Goosen said his ball was sitting nicely in grass near the edge of the bunker. He was first to play and wanted to put pressure on Alker, torn between a 5-iron and a 4-iron. He went for the longer club to be safe, and it didn’t work out the way he imagined — in so many ways.

“The ball was a little bit above my feet and the ball was sitting up so nicely,” Goosen said. “I was in between a 5 and a 4 and I thought I’ll just hit a smooth 4 and completely thinned it.”

No worries. Instead of laying up short of the water and leaving a short wedge for his third, Alker followed him into the water.

“I thought Steve was going to lay up and just go from there,” Goosen said. “When he hit it in the water it was a bit of a shock.”

Alker did not question his decision, saying his ball was sitting up perfectly in the light rough and a solid 5-iron should have been enough.

“Just got a little high on the face and just kind of come out soft,” Alker said.

Ricardo Gonzalez, who had a one-shot lead at the start, was tied for the lead until taking bogey after a drive into a fairway bunker on the 16th, and then making bogey from the bunker on the par-3 17th. But his birdie on the 18th gave him a 71 and moved him into a share of second place with Alker and Alex Cejka (68).