AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Padraig Harrington broke par for the second straight day, something he hasn't done in four months. Two more days like that and it could lead to something he hasn't done in a year.
Without a victory since the PGA Championship, Harrington treaded
carefully across Firestone on Friday for a 1-under 69 that gave him
a one-shot lead over Tim Clark going into the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Harrington didn't put much stock into his opening round of 64, and he wasn't ready to declare himself the favorite to win his first World Golf Championship. Even so, he conceded that consecutive good rounds were helpful.
"I'm obviously pleased," said Harrington, who was at 7-under 133. "I shot a good score yesterday - put me up there - and it's nice to shoot a reasonable score to back it up. Break 70 on the weekend a few more times and I should be doing OK."
Scott Verplank went 35 holes without a bogey until hitting into the trees on the 18th hole and dropping a shot for a 69, leaving him alone in third at 135.
Tiger Woods, a six-time winner at Firestone, was among 20 players within five shots of the lead, although he found himself in a peculiar spot after an even-par 70. He was tied for 13th, the first time after any round at Firestone he has been out of the top 10.
He was at 2-under 138, the same score he had in 2007 when he went on to win by eight.
"You just have to be very patient," said Woods, coming off a victory last week in the Buick Open with the final major of the year looming next week at Hazeltine. "This course is playing like it normally does, and it's very similar to a major championship. A good number this week is going to be somewhere in the high 60s, and more than likely you can move up the leaderboard."
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