Harrington's charge eclipses host Woods

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The Independent Online

Padraig Harrington made four birdies from off the green on the final six holes for a five-under 67 that gave him a one-stroke over Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and Chris DiMarco at the half-way stage of the Target World Challenge.

Harrington, the defending champion, figured a round like that would at least get him in a reasonable position heading into the weekend. So he was surprised when he tapped in for par on the 18th hole and saw his name at the top of the leaderboard at three-under 141.

"There's a lot of ups and downs out there," Harrington said. They weren't hard to find. It was below freezing first thing in the morning. Not long after the sun thawed Sherwood Country Club, Tiger Woods proceeded to make a "snowman" - golf vernacular for an eight - on the par-five second.

He recovered with six birdies the rest of the day, the last coming from 15 feet on the final hole for a one-under 71. "That was one of the uglier rounds I could have played," Woods said. "I didn't kill anybody. I didn't kill myself. All in all, it was a good day."

Love never lost the lead until he went long on the par-three 12th for a double bogey, and short into the water on the par-three 15th and had to make a 15-footer for bogey. He wound up with a 72. "I had a chance to run away, so that's a little disappointing," Love said.

The 16-man field includes the top 12 players available from the world rankings and four lucky guys chosen by Woods, the tournament host. All but four were within four shots of the lead going into the weekend. Woods, who won this tournament two years ago, figures he is in good shape if he can keep the mistakes to a minimum.

So far, that has been quite a challenge, and no more so than on the par-five second. It appeared as though a two-shot swing was imminent. Woods was on the fairway, while Love was at the bottom of a pile of leaves pressed next to the hedges guarding someone's house. With a penalty drop, Love was hitting his fourth shot before Woods hit his second. When they walked off the green, the two-shot swing favoured Love. Love hit just short of the fringe, about 15 feet away from the hole, and two-putted for a simple bogey.

Woods pulled his second shot into the water. He dropped short of the creek and hit a sand wedge that landed three feet from the hole, only to spin back off the green, down a slope and into the creek. He stomped back to his bag and dropped another ball - even though he could have dropped outside the hazard line where his ball went into the water. That would have meant a simple chip from 30 feet, and saved him a stroke.