February 12, 2009

Goosen's 64 Grabs Lead

Retief Goosen polished off his eight-under round with birdies on two of his last four holes en route to a two-stroke lead over Dustin Johnson

Strong iron play and a hot putter is keying Goosen's success. He is second in putts per GIR and third in putts per round.

Strong iron play and a hot putter is keying Goosen's success. He is second in putts per GIR and third in putts per round.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Retief Goosen is sporting a new look at a tournament he has never played. After an 8-under 64 in the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he's hopeful of seeing some old results.

Goosen hit a 3-iron to 8 feet for an eagle on the second hole at Pebble Beach, then picked up even more momentum by holing a 70-foot chip on the par-3 fifth green for birdie.

With short birdies on two of the last four holes, he was at 12-under 132 and had a two-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

Goosen is wearing prescription sunglasses for the first time in his career, and the belly putter he tried out last week in San Diego is starting to take hold. Now if he can only get the scores that made him part of the "Big Four" in golf as recently as four years ago.

"I'd like to turn my game around and play better," said Goosen, who has fallen to No. 42 in the world and not won on the PGA Tour since the now-defunct International in Colorado four years ago.

Johnson built an early lead playing Spyglass Hill, with four birdies on his first six holes to reach 11 under. But he pulled his tee shot into the trees on the 325-yard 17th, hit a tree trying to chip out and took double bogey. He had to settle for a 69, leaving him at 10-under 134 as he heads to Poppy Hills and its five par 5s on Saturday.

Mike Weir of Canada had a steady round of 69 at Pebble Beach and was among those at 8-under 136, while the highest-ranked players continue to occupy the bottom part of the leaderboard.

British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington had a 73 at Pebble Beach as the breeze strengthened but the skies remained surprisingly clear, leaving him at 3-over 147 and in serious jeopardy of missing the cut. Also at 3 over was Vijay Singh, who had a 75 at Pebble Beach.