Course there for the taking

DAVE FULLER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

But for one miserable little hole -- the par-4, 14th -- defending Open champ Nathan Green might be walkin' and talkin' "repeat."

Instead, the 35-year-old Aussie finds himself six shots behind leader Brent Delahoussaye heading into Friday's second round at St. George's.

Green's drive off the 14th tee landed in a hazard, then he muffed his bunker shot for a triple-bogey seven.

That one disaster wrecked a pretty decent round that included six birdies.

Green, winner of last year's Open at Glen Abbey -- his first and only Tour victory -- finished with a 68, two-under par.

"I wasn't hitting the ball that well but I managed to scruff around the front nine and make a few birdies coming in, so it wasn't too bad in the end," the Green said.

"I did get a little bit of luck earlier. I had balls get through trees and stuff like that."

South African Retief Goosen, who dropped a sudden-death playoff to Green last year at Glen Abbey, remains a threat again this year.

Despite a slow start, Goosen shot a 67, and is five off the lead.

Still, Goosen was kicking himself for not taking advantage of his early morning tee-time.

"Starting on No. 9, there was no wind and the chances for birdies were there," he said. "But I got off to a poor start. I played well in the middle part of the round but I had a bad finish on the eighth (a bogey).

Those par 5s (on nine and 11) are reachable with driver and a medium iron. When you make fives on those (like I did), it feels like bogey."

Hunter Mahan, who had seven birdies, to go with a pair of bogeys, trails Delahoussaye by three strokes. Mahan is one of 10 golfers who shot five-under, 65s.

"The weather's prefect, there's little wind, the greens are soft," said Mahan, who won the Waste Management tourney in February and tied for eighth at the Masters. "This course can play nasty. But the fairways are firming out. The balls are bouncing. It probably looks shorter than it usually does."

Charley Hoffman, who won the Bob Hope Classic in 2007 -- his only Tour victory -- was tied with Mahan and eight others for third, three shots behind leader.

"I drove pretty good and gave myself a chance to get up close to some pins," said the 33-year-old San Diego native. "All and all, I'm pretty happy. You never complain, no matter where you're playing when you're five under."

Rich Barcelo birdied half the course, before settling in at 65.

"Today was an extremely fun day to play golf," he said.


Videos

Photos