Pacific Palisades: Already a winner on the 2014-15 PGA Tour, Ryan Moore put himself in good position to claim another title by seizing an early one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open second round today.
Three strokes off the pace overnight, the 32-year-old American fired a three-under-par 68 on a firm and fast-running Riviera Country Club layout where most players were struggling to get the ball close with their approach shots.
Moore mixed four birdies with a sole bogey in mainly sunny conditions to post a five-under total of 137, leaving him one ahead of burly Argentine Angel Cabrera, a double major champion who also carded a 68.
Masters champion Bubba Watson, who won last year`s Northern Trust Open after shooting bogey-free 64s in the last two rounds, was a further stroke back at three under after returning a 69.
"It was a great, solid round of golf," the bearded Moore, a four-times winner on the PGA Tour, told reporters after missing a four-foot par putt to bogey his final hole.
"It`s just tough to have birdie chances that are reasonable on this golf course right now. The greens are so firm and so bouncy. I hit a handful of what I would say are as good of shots as I could possibly hit and I ended up with 45-footers.
"You just know you`ve got to take advantage of them, if you do get one around the hole. You`ve got to make it and I`ve been able to do that," said Moore, who won the fourth event on the 2014-15 PGA Tour, the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in November.
Watson drained a 42-foot eagle putt at the par-five first and a 30-footer for birdie at the par-four second, his 11th hole of the day, but otherwise suffered by leaving himself too far away from the cup for good scoring opportunities.
"I hit the ball a little bit better, but you can`t get the ball close here -- well I can`t," rued the left-hander. "I haven`t been able to get the ball as close as I want. I made two long putts, which made me look like I played really good today."
PGA Tour veterans Vijay Singh of Fiji and South African Retief Goosen, in a six-way tie for the lead overnight after opening with 66s, were among the late starters today.