Friday, 06 August 2010
Retief Goosen   (Getty Images)
Retief Goosen (Getty Images)

South Africa’s Retief Goosen is determined to return to winning ways after taking the halfway lead at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

The two-time European Tour Number One shot a second round 66 at Firestone to reach seven under par and establish a one shot advantage over American duo Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard.

With 43 professional wins under his belt Goosen is no stranger to the winner’s circle, but the twice US Open Champion has yet to capture a title in 2010.

“I've been playing quite consistent this year, which is quite nice - I've just not been really winning,” said Goosen.

“Obviously you want to win. I've had a lot of top tens this year, but that doesn't mean anything, it's that number one that counts. 

“This would be a great event to get my first win for the year.  I don't think I'm going to be too far off the lead by the end of the day, and we'll see what I can do around here on the weekend.”

Having chipped in for birdie at the fourth, Goosen picked up three further shots on the back nine with the only blemish coming at the last as he bogeyed there for the second day running.

“Every part of your game needs to be good here, driving especially,” he added. “It's a good driving golf course - you need to hit it on the fairway, otherwise you're struggling. 

“I think the difference is here is I'm putting pretty well. I didn't drive it so good yesterday but caught a few breaks, and today I drove it a bit better. But the putting has been pretty good the last two rounds.”

Leonard matched Goosen’s 66, while Mickelson carded a 68 as he looks to end Tiger Woods 270 week reign as World Number One.

The Masters Tournament winner is favourite to end the week top of the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career, with Woods well down the field after a 72 left him six over.

England’s Lee Westwood, currently the World Number Three, saw his hopes of taking top spot dashed by the calf injury that has bothered him in recent weeks.

He was forced to pull out of the event, and will miss next week’s US PGA Championship.

“Obviously it would be cool,” said Mickelson. “I'm not going to say it wouldn't. It would be something I would love to do and ultimately be regarded as Number One according to the rankings and so forth.  And I know that I've got a great opportunity this week. 

“I know that I'm playing well, and this is my best opportunity. I try not to think about it.”

Sweden’s Peter Hanson is one of three players a stroke further back on five under, while Adam Scott, Paul Casey and Miguel Angel Jiménez are all four under.

Mickelson’s playing partner for the first two rounds has been Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, and a 69 kept him in the hunt at three under.

“It was a nice couple of rounds out there,” said McIlroy. “I said this yesterday, but we enjoy each other's company. 

“It helps whenever both guys are playing pretty good, as well. I really enjoyed myself out there, and hopefully I can just feel that relaxed for the next two days, as well.”

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