Goosen moves one shot clear at challenging Riviera

Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:45pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - South African veteran Retief Goosen, a twice former U.S. Open winner, seized a one-shot lead at the Northern Trust Open on Friday in tough conditions more reminiscent of a major championship.

On a firm and fast-running Riviera Country Club layout where most players struggled to get the ball close with approach shots, Goosen scrambled well as he eked out a one-under-par 70 in the second round.

The 46-year-old ended his day with an unexpected flourish, draining a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-four ninth, to post a six-under total of 136.

That gave Goosen, who is seeking his first PGA Tour victory since 2009, a slender one-shot advantage over Americans Ryan Moore (68) and Justin Thomas (69), and Canadian Graham DeLaet (67).

Burly Argentine Angel Cabrera, like Goosen a double major champion, was alone at four under after carding a 68.

"I didn't hit the ball as good as I hit it yesterday definitely," Goosen, who has been struggling for full fitness since having back surgery in August 2012 to repair a damaged disc, told reporters.

"Today was a little bit of scrambling with everything really but I got it up and down quite a few times, and that kept the round going.

"The rough is thick in places. The greens are definitely becoming U.S. Open-style. They are getting firmer and quicker. Some of these holes, if you get away with a par, it's a good score."   Continued...

Retief Goosen tees off on the second during the second round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports