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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Els captures two-shot lead
Ernie Els
-11 E Els (SA)
-9 T Hamilton (USA), MA Jimenez (Sp)
-8 J Leonard (USA)
-7 L Westwood (GB), R Goosen (SA), T Bjorn (Den), S Flesch (USA)
Former Open champion Ernie Els fired a majestic 64 to take a two-shot halfway lead at 11-under in the WGC Championship at Mount Juliet, Ireland.

The South African birdied the first four holes and added five others to head this year's Open champion Todd Hamilton, and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Veteran Spaniard Jimenez had a superb finish, with a birdie at the 16th and a huge putt for an eagle on the next.

Tiger Woods made three early birdies but closed with a 70 and is six-under.

The former world number one said: "I putted so bad on the back nine that it cost me four shots, but there's still a long way to go."

Els said afterwards it had taken a while to get over yet another Majors disappointment in the USPGA Championship at Whistling Strait in August.

Having also come close in the Masters and Open Championship, he admitted: "It took me a couple of weeks to get my thought process settled down and worked out.

"You play to succeed and play to win and, when it didn't happen, I was quite disappointed, but I'm fine now."

Hamilton, who was tied for 51st in his last event in the US and has yet to finish in the top-10 since his famous Royal Troon win, played one of the shots of the week at the 15th.

He was plugged in the face of a greenside trap but cleared the lip by a fraction of an inch and the ball rolled to within three feet, ensuring a comfortable par.

At the 18th he gave another example of his wide range of shots around the green with a delicate chip that finished inches past the cup.

Jimenez also came within a fraction of a miracle at the final hole as he completed the day's action in the final group.

Plugged in the rough he lofted a recovery that bounced a yard fom the flag and finished two feet beyond.

Woods to battle on
30 Sep 04  |  Golf

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