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Saturday, 07 August 2010
Peter Hanson  (Getty Images)
Peter Hanson (Getty Images)

Peter Hanson and Ernie Els put themselves firmly in the hunt for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a round to play at Firestone.

American pair Ryan Palmer and Sean O’Hair lead the way in Akron, Ohio on nine under par, but Els and Hanson are in a group just two shots off the pace.

South African Els, who already has a WGC title under his belt this season, shot a six under par 64 to move into contention.

And the three-time Major winner was delighted with his putting – he holed from range at the seventh and 11th for two of seven birdies and needed only 25 in his round.

“I really putted nicely today,” he said. “I was very frustrated yesterday - I thought I hit it nicely yesterday. I hit it quite nicely the first day, but yesterday I felt like I shot a good one.

“I changed putters actually. I'm in between two putters at the moment. The one I went with today has got a bit more pop on the ball, comes off a little bit quicker. I felt like I had a bit better speed and made some good putts.”

Sweden’s Hanson signed for a round of 68 – although his day could have been even better had he not missed a five foot birdie putt at the last.

“I thought I played very steady today, hitting it good off the tee and got the driver working so I was in play most of the time,” said the three time European Tour winner.

“Gave myself some reasonably good chances, and it was good. I feel happy with my game, and like I said, focusing on trying to push as hard as I can to get on that Ryder Cup Team. 

“I have this week and next week coming up, and I feel great to have my game here.”

Hanson is currently six places outside an automatic qualification spot for The European side at The Celtic Manor Resort in October, but a good finish this week would put him firmly in contention.

And the 32 year old admits he hopes Colin Montgomerie has taken note of his performance in such a prestigious tournament.

“I know I have to play well,” he added. “I'm a little bit behind now, but these are two big weeks and I'm happy with my game, so I should make a good run for it.”

Another American, Matt Kuchar, has sole possession of third on eight under, while Els and Hanson are joined a shot further back by former Open Champion Justin Leonard.

 


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