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Friday, 27 May 2005
(Reuters) - Ireland's Paul McGinley came within a stroke of the West Course record at Wentworth Club to take an early two-shot lead in the BMW Championship second round.

A faultless eight under par 64, containing an eagle and six birdies took McGinley to eight under par 136.

Ryder Cup team-mate Padraig Harrington shot a 68 to make it an Irish one-two on top of the leaderboard, despite hesitating whether to begin his round asuffering his perennial neck problems.

McGinley's playing partner Ben Curtis dropped from second place by bogeying the last for a 70 and had to settle for a share of third with New Zealander Michael Campbell (68) and Australia's Peter Lonard (70).

McGinley was written into golfing history as the man who sank the winning putt in The 2002 Ryder Cup, but the 38 year old said he was not content to have that achievement listed as his high point, having won only three times in his 14 year professional career.

"I've had two great Ryder Cup experiences in extreme pressure," he said. "But my win ratio is not good enough.

"I feel I'm good enough to be playing in the Masters and it hurts that I was 62 in the world at the time and wasn't in.

"I didn't even watch the Masters. It hurts that much. It's the same with the TPC. Top 50 in the world is where it's at. I made The Ryder Cup but didn't do enough to make top-50."

Harrington has sympathy for his compatriot and said McGinley was "much better than his record and should win more often".

The World Number Ten, unable to find painkillers for his neck problem, came close to pulling out of Wentworth but discovered, oddly, pain represented gain.

"I tweaked something in my neck but that meant my focus was better, it put a little bit of fight in me," he said after soldiering on to collect four birdies in his last seven holes.

Harrington's decision to return to Wentworth after an absence of two years, having found the famous Burma Road not to his liking, paid off.

"It looks like that two-year break has freshened it up for me," he added. "The last time here I shot plus-four and missed the cut and it seemed like I'd played well."

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