Goosen moves one shot clear at challenging Riviera
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...