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U.S. Open champ blows away field with 63

1/26/2002

PERTH, Australia -- U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot a record-tying 9-under 63 Saturday to take a 13-shot lead into the final round of the Johnnie Walker Classic.

"With the way the course is set up this is probably the best round I've ever played," said Goosen, who is at 15-under 201 after three rounds.

"I give it 10 out of 10. I didn't think the winning score this week would be more than 10-under. It's a rather weird feeling to lead by this many."

After shooting a 4-under 68 in treacherous conditions at Lake Karrinyup on Friday, Goosen's 63 equaled Gary Players' record set in 1974 before the course was extended by about 300 yards.

Sergio Garcia, who shot 72 Saturday, and Ernie Els (71) are tied for second at 2-under. Anthony Wall, who shot 69, is tied with Simon Dyson (70) at 1-under.

Next at even par for the tournament are Wayne Riley and Pierre Fulke.

Goosen saved his shot of the day for the 459-yard 18th, the toughest hole on the course. He hit a 225-yard 2-iron from an uphill lie to 15 feet and made the putt for his ninth birdie.

Garcia beat Goosen in Lancome Trophy in Paris last year after trailing by four with only four holes to play, but the 22-year-old does not expect to see another remarkable turnaround.

"Retief is playing unbelievable," Garcia said. "Just to get into a playoff I would have to shoot 9-under and he would have to shoot 4-over. I can't see it happening. I will just try to finish second."

Former Thai paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee, who led after the first round and was one stroke back after the second, shot a 78 Saturday and is 16 shots behind Goosen.

The Classic is featured on three tours -- the European, Australasian and Asian PGA tours.