Friday, Gogel fired a Poppy Hills course record 10-under-par 62 to reclaim the lead he held coming down the back nine on Sunday one year ago.
Poppy Hills was the place to be on the Monterey Peninsula in the second round. Vijay Singh, who finished co-runner-up with Gogel last year, carded a four-under-par 68 at Poppy Hills to once again move into second place at 10-under, three shots back off the lead. Brad Elder (69), Tom Scherrer (67) and Frank Lickliter (66) also played the course. They're tied with Ronnie Black, who shot four-under-par 68 on Spyglass Hill, for third place at nine-under.
Gogel's Pebble Beach nemesis, Tiger Woods, played his second round at Poppy Hills as well; though he didn't have the success of his peers. Woods posted a one-over-par 73 to drop to five-under-par for the tournament. After recording a record 52 consecutive rounds at par or better on the PGA Tour, Tiger has now been over par in two of his last five rounds played.
Woods said he continues to feel a bit of discomfort in his left knee, which was sprained following an encounter with a fan on Wednesday. But it wasn't his knee that led to three bogeys over his first five holes. It was an erratic swing.
'I never really felt comfortable,' said Woods, who bogeyed the first hole after hitting his second shot into the water. 'My swing was never really in-sync. I just didn't have the timing right.'
Of course, eight shots back with 36 holes to play is nothing for Woods to overcome. You'll recall, he was eight strokes off the lead through two rounds a year ago. You might even remember he came back from seven strokes down with seven holes to play on Sunday to defeat Gogel.
'If I can just somehow get it going - hit a few good shots, make some putts, you never know,' said Woods.
Gogel knows all-to-well. And he hasn't forgotten - not that anyone would let him. But Gogel tries to remember the positives. He doesn't like to dwell on the back-nine 40 he shot that Sunday, or the fact that he missed 12 cuts in a 14-start stretch later in the season.
'I thought about (the loss) more than I thought I would in the months following,' Gogel admitted. 'And I probably put a lot of expectations on myself, which I didn't need to do.
'But it wasn't necessarily bad for me.the learning experience from it was a tremendous positive. It was just the after effect that I thought, `Gosh, I should be able to be up there more often.'
'I was a little naive in thinking that my success on the Buy.Com Tour (he was the first to win tournaments in four consecutive years) would carry over to the PGA Tour.'
This isn't Gogel's first trip back to Monterey. He qualified for the U.S. Open, which was also contested at Pebble Beach and also won by Woods. He missed the cut that week.
'I was back here and that's probably when I was, 'Wow, I remember this, gosh, I can't believe I did that,' recalled Gogel.
This week, however, Gogel couldn't be playing any better through two rounds. Friday, he racked-up ten birdies en route to his career-low round on the PGA Tour.
'It's an awesome feeling,' Gogel said. 'But I've still got one more course (Pebble Beach) to play in my rotation and I'll try to do as well as I can tomorrow. Then we'll worry about Sunday on Sunday.'
While Gogel says he's not looking ahead, he can't help but look back. And though he says he's not looking to settle unfinished business, he also knows that a victory would make 'one heck of a story.'
Especially, when you consider that Friday was Groundhog Day, which is the title of a Bill Murray (also in attendance) movie, in which the main character continues to relive the same day over-and-over again.
This time, however, Gogel would like to write a different ending to the script.
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