PGA Tour

Goosen takes solo lead in LA

Retief Goosen (AFP)
Retief Goosen (AFP)

Los Angeles - Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen drained a 30-foot birdie putt at his final hole on Friday to grab the second-round lead at the Northern Trust Open.

A firm, fast Riviera Country Club course was giving players fits in the $6.7 million US PGA Tour event.

Goosen fired a one-under par 70 for a 36-hole total of six-under 136 and a one-stroke lead over Canadian Graham DeLaet and Americans Ryan Moore and Justin Thomas.

Moore had four birdies in his three-under 68, the only blemish on his card a bogey at the 18th.

DeLaet had five birdies and one bogey in his four-under par 67 - which matched the best round of the day -- while Thomas posted a 69 highlighted by an eagle at the par-five first hole.

Argentinian veteran Angel Cabrera, a former US Open and Masters champion, was alone in fifth place after a 68 for 138.

Goosen said his birdie at his final hole, the par-four ninth, was "a pretty good bonus."

"It wasn't a very good shot in there with a sand wedge into the green, but it's a tough hole there. Any time I birdie on that hole is good," he said.

The 46-year-old, seeking his first US tour victory since the 2009 Transitions Championship, was among six players who shared the first-round lead on five-under par.

He was pleased with his performance in the testing conditions.

"I didn't hit the ball as good as I hit it yesterday," he said. "Today was a little bit scrambling ... but I got it up-and-down quite a few times, and that kept the round going.

"The thing is, if you miss the fairway, you can't even stop it with a wedge out of the rough."

Goosen, who has struggled to regain full fitness since back surgery in 2012, said he was excited to be in contention.

"It's been such a long time," he said. "Who knows how my game is going to hold up, but I'm feeling good."

For Moore, the difficult conditions made his closing bogey a little easier to swallow.

"It was a great, solid round of golf," Moore said. "The greens are so firm and so bouncy. I hit a handful of what I would say are as good of shots as I could possibly hit the last couple of days and end up with 45-footers."

Defending champion Bubba Watson, whose win here last year proved a springboard to a second Masters title, carved out a two-under 69 to head a group on three-under 139. He was joined by England's Paul Casey (69), rising US star Jordan Spieth (70), Derek Fathauer (73) and J.B. Holmes (69).

Leading second-round scores on Friday in the $6.7 million US PGA Tour Northern Trust Open (USA unless noted, par-71):

136 - Retief Goosen (RSA) 66-70
137 - Ryan Moore 69- 68, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 70-67, Justin Thomas 68-69
138 - Angel Cabrera (ARG) 70-68
139 - Bubba Watson 70-69, Derek Fathauer 66-73, Jordan Spieth 69-70, J.B. Holmes 70-69, Paul Casey (ENG) 70-69
140 - Noh Seung-Yul (KOR) 71-69, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 66-74, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 71-69, Nick Watney 66-74, James Hahn 66-74, Carlos Ortiz (MEX) 67-73, Daniel Summerhays 66-74, Tony Finau 70-70
141 - Bryce Molder 71-70, Charles Howell 71-70, Keegan Bradley 73-68, Jim Furyk 71-70, Harris English 72-69, Brendon Todd 69-72, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 71-70

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