Goosen surges into lead

2009-02-14 10:39

California - South Africa's Retief Goosen fired a blistering eight-under-par 64 on Friday to charge to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the 6.1 million-dollar Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

An eagle on his par-five second hole launched Goosen on his superb round, which gave him a 12-under total of 132 and a two-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

The two-time US Open champion's torrid start continued with three birdies from the fourth, before a bogey at seven.

"Yeah, got off to a good start," Goosen said. "The second hole hit a driver and three-iron to seven feet and made three, and that always makes you feel a little bit more comfortable."

Goosen nabbed four more birdies on the back nine at Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three courses in use for the tournament along with Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hill.

Goosen said his chip-in for birdie at the par-three fifth was even bigger for his momentum than the eagle.

"Probably, the chip-in on five was more than the eagle," he said. "The second hole, they actually play as a par-four in the US Open. I hit it way left on the par-three and probably hit a 15, 20-yard chip and holed that. So that was really more of a swing for me than the second hole."

Goosen went winless in 2008 but proved his game is on track with a victory in the Africa Open in mid-January.

"I'm working on my fitness a lot harder than I used to," Goosen said. "December, I really didn't take any time off. I was pretty much on the driving range every second day and didn't really have too much of a holiday. So I did work a little bit harder than normal in the offseason this last year than I normally do."

First-round co-leader Johnson, who played at Spyglass Hill, was alone in second place after a 69 for 134.

Johnson also got off to a quick start, with four birdies in his first six holes before a double-bogey at 17.

"Got off to a good start again," Johnson said. "I was four-under through the first seven holes I think, and then made double on 17, which is - for Spyglass, is a fairly easy hole. So a little disappointed.

"But then I played good the rest of the way in."

Johnson, in just his second full year on the US tour, is looking for his second career victory.

Robert Garrigus, who shared the first-round lead with Johnson, carded a 71 and was tied with Charley Hoffman, Canadian Mike Weir and Mark Calcavecchia for third place on 136. Weir and Calcavecchia both shot 69, while Hoffman had a 70.

"Today, it was a struggle," Garrigus said. "I was not hitting it as good as I was yesterday, but I was scraping it around, and keeping it around par."