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Friday, 19 March 2010
World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round Two  (Getty Images)
World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round Two (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter was making a run up the leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational as tournament leader Padraig Harrington and six time winner Tiger Woods prepared to do battle in the final group at Firestone Country Club.

Poulter shot a three under par 67 on Thursday and Saturday in Ohio either side of a 74 to start the final round at two under, eight shots behind Ireland's Harrington, with Woods three strokes off the lead.

Yet the Englishman began with three birdies in a row and was five under for the tournament after four holes.

US Ryder Cup player Steve Stricker had also moved to five under on the par 70, 7,400 yard South Course thanks to birdies at the second and third holes while his Valhalla team-mate and playing partner Hunter Mahan eagled the par five second to also get to five under before bogeying the third.

US PGA Championship holder Harrington, chasing his first victory of the year after a season where he has modified his swing, was due to start his final round at ten under par and with a three stroke lead over World Number One Woods.

The Irishman had held off a back nine charge from Woods on Saturday as the American moved into second place with a five under par 65.

Harrington, who has led since the first round, responded with some great golf of his own on the back nine for a 67 that gave him a valuable cushion going into a last round showdown with a player who has taken ownership of Firestone with his six victories in eight appearances at the famous Ohio course.

Two of the four victories Woods had enjoyed this year have been achieved having started off the lead, making up five shots on Sean O'Hair at Bay Hill in March and four shots on Mark Wilson and Matt Bettencourt at the Memorial in May.

Yet of the 20 come-from-behind wins, including three at this tournament, the World Number One has never had to reel in a three-time Major winner like Harrington.

Former tournament winner Darren Clarke, the 2003 champion, was moving along nicely, one under for the day after 14 holes, to get to level par for the week.

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