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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 00:03 GMT 01:03 UK
Mickelson salutes Goosen
Retief Goosen
Masters champion Phil Mickelson admitted that Retief Goosen was a worthy champion after the South African prevailed at Shinnecock Hills.

"I fought hard the whole day," said Mickelson, who crucially three-putted the 17th for a double bogey.

The left-hander, who finished two shots adrift, added: "I played some of the best golf I've ever played.

"Boy did Retief play well. I want to give him credit, he played so solidly and deserved to win."

Goosen's second US Open title came three years after he won his first following a nerve-jangling finale to the 2001 event at Southern Hills.

GOOSEN FACT FILE
Born: 3 Feb 1969, Pietersburg, SA
Turned pro: 1990
First win: SA Tour's 1991 Iscor Classic
1995: Holds off Ernie Els to win South African Open
1996: Wins maiden European Tour title
1997: 7th on Order of Merit
2000: Makes President's Cup International team v US
2001: Wins US Open; Wins Order of Merit
2002: Second to Tiger Woods at Masters; retains Order of Merit
2004: Wins second US Open

He was set to win on the 18th but three-putted from 12 feet before holding his nerve to beat American Mark Brooks in an 18-hole play-off the following day.

And in recognition, Goosen shook his cap at the hole after sinking the winning putt on Sunday.

"I just didn't want to three-putt the 18th again, that's all," Goosen said.

The 35-year-old led by two overnight but was made to fight all the way to the end, especially after Mickelson took the outright lead on the 16th before double-bogeying 17.

"I made a few good pars coming in, which you need to do in the US Open," said Goosen, who needed only 24 putts, including 11 one-putts.

"When Phil started making a good run on the back nine, I knew I had to hang in there.

"Everybody struggled. The course wasn't easy and, you know, I'm just lucky to be on top."



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