Australians share lead at Congressional

The Quicken Loans National event at the Congressional Country Club has already lost two of those considered favourites prior to the event, both Tiger Woods and Jason Day the world number 5 and 6 unable to survive the halfway cut at a venue where they have both experienced some very good performances in the past.

The event is being led by a group of four players including two Australians, Marc Leishman and Oliver Goss who are joined by Patrick Reed and Ricky Barnes to be one ahead of Hudson Swafford and another Australian in Stuart Appleby.

Woods and Day played together alongside Jordan Spieth over the opening 36 holes but with Woods at 7 over and day at 4 over and the cut at 3 over, both will be missing from the weekend field.

Woods was disappointed but at the same time delighted with certain aspects of his return after more than three months away from the tournament scene.

"There are a lot of positives to take away from these last two days even though I missed the cut by four shots," said Woods. "The fact that I was even able to play having come back four weeks earlier than we thought I could. I had no setbacks and got my feel for playing tournament golf. I made a ton of simple little mistakes which I can correct.

"The one thing I was worried about the most was hitting the driver full up but the fact that I was able to hit it that hard was encouraging.

"I want to take my kids on a nice little vacation next week then start to geared up for Hoylake.

"I hate to say it but I am really encouraged by what happened this week despite missing the cut by four shots."

Day's performance was perhaps surprising given his liking for Congressional and great recent form. After a slow start yesterday he had worked his way comfortably inside the cutline when disaster struck at the very demanding 10th and 11th holes where he double bogeyed both after finding water hazards.

For Goss and Leishman however it was a very different scenario. Goss, is playing in just his second event as a professional after missing the cut in Hartford last week but he an extraordinary talent as his effort at Augusta National when making the cut would suggest.

"I didn't really have too many expectations," said Goss. "Obviously I wanted to make the cut. Missing the cut last week I was a little bit disappointed but coming into this week pretty appreciate and open-minded and just see what happened. That I'm atop the leaderboard, I couldn't be more pleased.

Goss was so new to the PGA Tour that event the security guard refused him entry. "I think it was yesterday morning, I tried to get in the clubhouse and the security guy was like, hey, where's your credential. I said, "I don't have a credential, but I'm a player and I've got an exemption." He said, "Well, I can't let you in." I was like, "I'm a player, though." Still wasn't good enough for him, which shows just how good the security is around here. I just had to walk around the other side of the clubhouse. I got a credential now so I'm all set."

Chances are that it won't be long before that is no longer a problem for the 20 year old from Perth.

Leishman played very well early in the season and has begun to put together some good tournaments again of late and shapes as a potential contender for the title.

The leading four players inside the top 12 at the end of the week and not otherwise qualified for the Open Championship earn the right to play at Royal Liverpool and so the week presents a great opportunity for Goss if he is able to go one with it to compete in three majors in 2014 having already played the Masters and US Open courtesy of his runner-up finish at the US Amateur last year.

Leishman already has a start at the Open courtesy of his place on the Presidents Cup team last year.

Appleby has showed glimpses of his capabilities this season and his second round of 67 has him well placed heading into the weekend.

Goss' fellow West Australian Brady Watt and a young man who is also relatively new to the professional ranks is in 27th position along with Geoff Ogilvy.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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