At 49 years old, this year's The Open will be his last as a regular player. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – Retief Goosen, who is now 49, will be playing in this year's British Open at Carnoustie for the last time as a regular European and US Tour player.

Because when he turns 50 more riches await him on the American Seniors Tour, which has proved to provide a lucrative pension to many golfers who have reached their half-century.

The 'Goose' has had eight top-10 finishes in The Open Championship (they don't say British Open in the UK), and Goosen will be making a return to the most venerable Major championship when he tees it up in Scotland on July 19.

Goosen was one of 12 players who made it through four Final Qualifying fields on Tuesday, and he will be hoping to improve on his share of 23rd behind winner Padraig Harrington in 2007, the last time The Open was played at Carnoustie.

Retief 'Goose' Goosen in action. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)
Retief 'Goose' Goosen in action. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)

He qualified in tough conditions at the par-72 Princes Club, with rounds of 71 and 72 to finish in third place behind England’s Tom Lewis and Iceland’s Haraldur Magnus.

“I am glad it played tough today, as I play better when it is difficult,” said Goosen. “I drove the ball well, and my long putting in the wind was good. 

“This will be my last Open as a regular tour player – next year I’ll be with the seniors – but I’m looking forward to it. Carnoustie is always tough but I’m sure it will be in great condition.”

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Goosen wasn’t able to make a return trip to Shinnecock Hills for the US Open last month. He won the US Open in both 2001 and 2004, and made the trip to England for the 36-hole qualifier, where he earned the third and final qualifying spot at Princes by a single shot.

There were also qualifiers held simultaneously at St Annes Old Links, Hollinwell and The Renaissance Club, with three qualifying spots available at each venue.

Playing his way into The Open for the second time was Cape Town Open champion Rhys Enoch of Wales. He finished third at Hollinwell on two-under after the 36 holes, with England’s Ashton Turner and Oliver Wilson ahead of him.

Matias Calderon, the 2018 Eye of Africa PGA Championship winner, missed out at Princes by one stroke, as did Sunshine Tour rookie Kyle McClatchie.

Goosen will make his 19th Open appearance and compiled six top-10 finishes between 2002 and 2010. 

But the South African has played The Open just once since 2012, tying for 20th at St Andrews three years ago. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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