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Goosen tops Riviera field as Moving Day looms

Weekend Preview — PGA Tour — Northern Trust Open — Riviera Country Club — Pacific Palisades, California —

South Africa’s Retief Goosen enters the third round at the Northern Trust Open with the 36-hole lead.

Goosen, the 46-year-old two-time U.S. Open champion, is 6-under at Riviera Country Club at the half way point and alone at the top of the leader board at the PGA Tour stop near Los Angeles. Three at tied at 5-under ad a shot back including Ryan Moore, Graham DeLaet and Justin Thomas, who has three Top 10s this season.

Former Masters champion Angel Cabrera is alone in fourth at 4-under. He is part of the 40-plus crowd trying to breakthrough for a victory this week. Only two players over age 40 won a tournament on the PGA Tour last season. Cabrera was one of them capturing the Greenbrier Classic last July.

Defending champion Bubba Watson, the top-ranked American in the field, is part of large group at 4-under and T-6. Also at 4-under includes Paul Casey, J.B. Holmes and Jordan Spieth.

Looking for his first PGA Tour win since the 2009 Transitions Championship, Goosen has slipped to 220th in the Official World Golf Ranking fighting injuries over the last few seasons. He has seven career PGA Tour titles including winning tournaments in five straight seasons (2001-2005).

Goosen is third this week in Driving Distance and fourth in Strokes Gained Putting at Riviera so far. Nerves might challenge Goosen in the final pairing Saturday with plenty of recent winners pressing him on Moving Day.

Moore, who won the CIMB Classic in November, is third this week in Fairways in Regulation and third in Strokes Gained Putting. He was a 66-to-1 betting pick at www.skybet.com heading into the week.

Look for Nick Watney to bouce back from a second-round 74. He reached 7-under at one point Friday before struggling with four straight bogeys on his homeward nine holes. He is T-11 at 2-under and just four back alongside Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia, who rallied to shoot 69 in round two.

Other Golf News:

  • Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn (7-under) co-lead at the LPGA Tour’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open through 54 holes. Ko, the Rolex Ranking No. 1 player, is looking for her first victory since claiming the top ranking. The tour heads to Thailand next week.
  • The PGA Tour heads to the Florida Swing beginning next week with the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Russell Henley is the defending champion.
  • S.S.P. Chowrasia (12-under) leads the European Tour’s Hero Indian Open by two shots heading into the final round. Chowrasia has two career European Tour titles.
  • Past champions at Riviera — Bill Haas and Aaron Baddeley — both missed the cut this week. Former major champions Ernie Els (78-76) and Webb Simpson (75-72) also failed to qualify for the weekend.