Retief Goosen’s back is bothering him again, but he’s hanging tough at Innisbrook, Copperhead course and tied for the 54-hole lead with Jim Furyk. The Goose had a -6 under round of 65 for his tournament score of -11 under, and Jim had a -5 under 66 to join him at the top of the leaderboard. Retief joked about the last time he was in the media center;
“Probably the last time I was in the media center was about 2009. (Laughter) A lot of you guys have aged a lot since I’ve seen you. It’s nice to be back over here, playing well. I love the course obviously. I putt well around it. I see some good shapes around it, and it’s always nice coming back to a place where you’ve won before and like to play.”
He went on to talk about his back problem, and getting into the Masters;
“Well, my back has been the main issue the last year. Really since the British Open, it was pretty bad. Pulled out of the British Open and the PGA. And then took a few months off towards the end of the year, and then started working with Cornell on my back, and he did a great job getting me back on a course playing November, December, January back in South Africa. But the last three weeks, it’s really just started getting bad again. So we decided to call it a day. We withdrew from Bay Hill yesterday and I’m going to get the injections done on Wednesday. So hopefully I’ll be ready to get going again after the Masters, or maybe the Masters if I play well tomorrow.”
Jim was really enthusiastic about his round today;
” I got off to a fast start, birdieing four of the first seven and I made two good birdies on par 5s, driving the ball in the rough. Felt good about what I was doing and hit good some putts, and hit a couple others that caught a piece of the hole and just really played solid on the back nine. I didn’t get it going quite as fast, and missed about an 8-footer there on 10 for birdie but played well, hit a bunch of greens today and of course I ended up 3-putting last but felt good about the drive I hit and the iron. The iron just caught that, I could see from the fairway and kicked right and caught that ridge. And I kind of guided the first putt, didn’t hit a good solid putt like I wanted to. I left it short of the ridge. It was kind of an evil pin, really. That green has changed a little bit since the past. That pin placement didn’t exist before this year, and left of the green is no bargain, and right over where I was is no bargain as far as getting down in two. So you really had to hit one up the center of the green there and leave it short of the pin.”
Sang-Moon Bae and Jason Dufner are just one shot behind and Luke Donald is still lurking around the top of the board at -8 par after an average round of -1 under par, 70, despite starting his day with an eagle from the bunker on the first hole.