Padraig Harrington outscored World Number One, Tiger Woods, for the second successive day to prise open a three shot lead at the halfway stage of the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe at Gut Kaden, Hamburg.
The Irishman followed his opening 65 with an impressive six under par 66 for a two round total of 131 and a three stroke advantage of South African Retief Goosen with four players – Scotland’s Andrew Coltart, Robert Karlsson of Sweden, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Australian Peter O’Malley – on 135.
Woods, seeking to win the title for the third year in a row, left himself with considerable ground to make up on Harrington with a one under par 71 to follow his opening 69 for a total of 140, four under par. However neither the Irishman, nor anyone else in the field, will forget that Woods came from ten strokes behind to claim the title two years ago in Heidelberg.
A total of 77 players made the cut on 142, two under par, as Harrington continued his remorseless pursuit of birdies without dropping a stroke for the second day running. For the second tournament in succession, he holds a lead going into the weekend, and admitted that his biggest foe may lie within him.
Asked if Woods can still win, Harrington mused; “Without a doubt Tiger can win this tournament, but two things will probably have to happen – it would take him to play well and for me not to repeat the scores of the first two days.
“It’s possible, very possible, but there are a lot of people who are threats – namely me! I worry about myself more than anyone else. I don’t wake up at night or anything like that, but I do think too much. Over the weekend I will try to keep focused on what I’m doing and try to get a better result than last week.”
Goosen, who shared the first round lead with Harrington, moved from seven under to ten under par with a round of 69, starting like a whirlwind with a hat-trick of birdies from the second and ending with a lovely, curling birdie putt. In between, he hit some loose shots and said: “I started pretty nicely but hit some bad iron shots and eventually got it back near the end.”
Karlsson and O’Malley teed off together at 7.40am and by the end of their round they were still joined at the hip on nine under par, the former shooting 67 and the latter 66 thanks to a new, heavier putter which had the desired effect.
McDowell conjured up a 40 foot birdie putt on the last which enabled him to sign for a 65 and made dinner taste much better while Coltart came home in 32 for a 67 to add to his first round 68.
Still very much in the hunt is last week’s Benson and Hedges International Open champion, Paul Casey, of England who kick-started his round with a two iron to 18 feet for an eagle three at the sixth. He picked up a further four birdies in a 66 which left him poised to launch a challenge on eight under par, five behind Harrington and one ahead of Nick Faldo, who enjoyed a fine day on the golf course by shooting a 67.