LOS ANGELES – Until this week, Retief Goosen hadn’t held a 36-hole lead in five years, so we can excuse him if he isn’t ultra-confident about converting this into an eighth career PGA Tour win.
“It's been such a long time since I've last been in contention,” he said after a 1-under 70 gave him the Northern Trust Open lead entering the weekend. “Who knows how my game is going to hold up, but I'm feeling good. My back's feeling great. So if the nerves can hold, just continue to make good golf swings and make a few good putts, who knows?”
Goosen rolled in a 30-foot putt on his final hole to claim a one-shot advantage over Ryan Moore, Graham DeLaet and Justin Thomas.
The two-time U.S. Open champion is playing well on a course which looks like it’s hosting a U.S. Open, but he’s still seeking a first win in almost six full years.
“I was excited to be up there again, fighting for the lead a little bit. I struggled, but I was fighting. I was working hard out there, keeping my score together and hopefully this weekend it's going to be the same. It's going to be a grind out there. It's not going to be easygoing.”