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Friday, 19 March 2010
WGC - CA Championship - Round Two  (Getty Images)
WGC - CA Championship - Round Two (Getty Images)

Ernie Els was the clubhouse leader at the second round of the World Golf Championships-CA Championship before play was held up briefly because of an approaching thunderstorm.

It vindicated the officials, who made a very wise move in bringing forward tee times by nearly three and a half hours.

Els, 40, who last year failed to land a title for the first time since his rookie season in 1990, has been putting in the hours on the practice range recently.

That certainly paid off as he added a 66 to his opening 68 and he shared top spot with Australian Robert Allenby, who still had three holes to complete when the suspension came.

The pair were three clear of closest challenger Bill Haas and overnight leader Charl Schwartzel.

Padraig Harrington finished just before the break, sitting tied for fifth with Søren Hansen on six under.

The Irishman's only 2009 success came in the Irish PGA Championship, but he was making no promises about putting that right this weekend.

The Dubliner has dropped to 13th in the world with nothing better than a 16th place finish in four starts so far this season.

With that in mind he said: "I have a tradition, unfortunately for me, that I don't normally win out of the blue.

"It's very rare. I normally warm up by getting into contention a few times.

"I'm happy with my scoring but I made a few mental errors out there and missed a few putts.

"Obviously, though, I hit enough good shots and I seemed to have a lot of reasonable chances for birdies."

His only dropped shot came after he hooked his drive into the lake on the treacherous 18th, his ninth of the day.

Els said: "I'm just pleased we got it done. The weather is changing a lot.

"I'm in pretty good shape. Halfway there and, you know, just got to keep it up."

Dane Hansen kept alive his hopes of the first prize with a second successive 69 to be alongside Harrington.

“Playing really well. Hitting a lot of greens. Giving myself a lot of chances and I suppose that's what it's all about in this game,” he said afterwards.

Allenby, who had aced the short 13th with a fairway wood and had another eagle on the long first, ended the day one behind Els after three-putting the short ninth for a 67.

That came seconds before play was suspended for a second time just after 2.30pm with 18 players still to complete their rounds.

Among them was defending champion Phil Mickelson on four under with one to play.

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