Goosen in a Familiar Position

By Sports NetworkNovember 4, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Tour ChampionshipATLANTA -- Bart Bryant and defending champion Retief Goosen distanced themselves from the field on Friday and share the lead midway through the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had six birdies and three bogeys in Friday's 67.
Bryant, who established a new course record at East Lake with a 62 on Thursday, came back with a 2-under 68 on Friday. Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open winner, posted a 4-under 66 in Round 2.
The pair is tied at 10-under-par 130, three shots better than their closest competitors.
Tiger Woods continued to miss fairways on Friday, but again, it hardly mattered. The No. 1 player in the world carded a 3-under 67 and is tied for third place with Scott Verplank (66) and U.S. Bank Championship winner Ben Crane (65). The trio is knotted at 7-under-par 133.
Woods made a move early with three birdies in his first five holes, including 20-footers at one and five. He dropped a shot at six when his 7-footer did not fall, but things got worse around the turn.
At the 10th, he drove it into the right rough and could not reach the green. His 23-foot par-saver never touched the hole and the reigning Masters and British Open champion bogeyed 11.
He answered the bogeys with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. Woods got within three of the lead at the par-3 closing hole. He ran home a 7-foot birdie putt at 18 to close out his 67.
'I kept losing the ball to the right,' said Woods, who claimed this title in 1999. 'Sometimes my driver goes too far. I need to bring the club head with me.'
Woods has to make up ground if he is to visit the winner's circle for the seventh time this season on the PGA Tour.
Bryant flew out of the gate on Friday when his 9-iron approach at the first stopped inside a foot. He tapped in for birdie, then added a 4-footer for birdie at the third.
Bryant, who won this year's Memorial, drained a 6-foot birdie putt at the seventh and found himself at 11 under par. He held a five-stroke lead, but crashed midway through the round.
At the eighth, Bryant went from bunker to bunker and missed a 10-foot par putt. Bryant missed the green at 12 and had a nearly plugged lie. He blasted to 25 feet, but his putt never fell. That dropped Bryant to 9 under par, which was good for a one-shot lead.
The lead evaporated one hole later as Bryant missed the fairway off the tee and was forced to lay up from the left rough. His 13-foot par try died right and now he was tied for the lead at 8 under par.
On Thursday, Bryant converted a 7-foot eagle putt at the 15th. On Friday, he collected his second eagle in as many rounds, but this time it was from 30 feet.
Bryant parred his last three and admitted that a five-shot lead, in this high-profile event, left him in an unfamiliar position.
'I may have felt a little pressure out there. I may have gotten a little bit nervy,' admitted Bryant. 'This is unchartered territory for me. I've never had a big lead like that during a tournament. There were certainly rough moments out there.'
Goosen struggled to a bogey at the first, but atoned for the mistake with a birdie at No. 3. He drained a 13-foot birdie putt at the eighth to reach 7 under, but still trailed by four.
Thanks to Bryant's mistakes, Goosen was able to climb up the leaderboard. He knocked his approach at 12 inside 2 feet and tapped in for the birdie. The defending champion converted a tough 5-foot par putt at 13 and was tied for the lead.
Bryant's eagle at 15 gave him the top spot on the leaderboard, but Goosen made birdie at the same hole. Goosen drained a 7-foot birdie putt at 16 to draw even, then parred out for his share of the lead.
'It's not easy out there, that's for sure,' said Goosen, who won this year's International. 'Once again, I putted really well today. It should have been level par, but I holed a lot of good putts.'
If Goosen can hoist the trophy on Sunday, he would become the first multiple winner in the tournament's history.
Tim Clark shot a 3-under 67 on Friday and is alone in sixth place at minus-6. Stuart Appleby (65) and Charles Howell III (68) share seventh place at 5-under-par 135.
Padraig Harrington (66), Luke Donald (67) and Olin Browne (67) are tied for ninth at minus-3.
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