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  Friday, 19 July, 2002, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Harrington takes share of Open lead
Ernie Els tees off at the 13th hole in his second round
Ernie Els produced a stunning front nine
Padraig Harrington birdied the 17th to take a share of the lead in the second round of The Open at Muirfield on Friday.

The Republic of Ireland golfer was one of the last to finish and his par at the 18th gave him a four-under-par 67.

"At the halfway stage, I'm in the position I'd want to be in, of course," he said.

"But the hard work is still to come. In fact, more than half of the work is yet to be done.

"I'm enjoying myself...I like playing in this kind of situation. I know what to do but I also know it isn't easy."

He joins South Africa's Ernie Els, Japan's Shigeki Maruyama and American duo Bob Tway and Duffy Waldorf at the top of the leaderboard.

A storming run of seven birdies on the front nine propelled Els to the top of the leaderboard.

I couldn't do anything wrong on the front nine
Ernie Els

The South African birdied the opening three holes and added four more at the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth to go out in a phenomenal 29.

Only one player in Open history has gone out in fewer strokes, and remarkably Els took only 10 putts in his first 10 holes.

Unsurprisingly, he could not maintain that pace on the back nine, bogeying the 11th and 13th, but still came home in par to card a 66.

Els moved to eight under par at one stage after an opening 70, but finished on six under.

He was joined there by Maruyama, twice a winner on the US tour, who carded a second successive 68 playing in the same group as Tiger Woods.

And right at the end of the day's play overnight leader Waldorf and Tway also came in at six under for the tournament.

Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie enjoyed a sparkling round

For Els, twice a runner-up at the Open and third last year, it was an impressive statement of intent.

"You are not always going to shoot 29 in a Major and I played pretty solid on the back nine, but I guess I just ran out of birdie holes," Els said.

"But I can't be too disappointed. I am in the lead and I came out of nowhere really.

"But there are still another couple of days to go and we are just playing for position at the moment."

Joint first-round leader Carl Petterson added a 70 to his opening 67 to finish a shot behind the leaders on five under par.

The Swede was joined in second place by Denmark's Soren Hansen, who came in with a 69, and Ireland's Des Smyth, who enjoyed his second successive sub-70 round.

Colin Montgomerie's stunning new course record of 64 saw the Scot storm up the leaderboard in the morning.

Retief Goosen eyes up a putt on the 13th hole
Goosen carded 34 for the front nine

He is in a group on four under par that includes former champion Mark O'Meara and world number one Woods.

Woods failed to find top gear but did not drop a shot all day, still managing three birdies in a 68 to leave him two behind the leaders.

South African Retief Goosen was another overseas contender to make a move, carding a 68 to finish in a group on three under including Darren Clarke, who hit a fine 67.

Nick Faldo, twice an Open winner at Muirfield, edged back into contention with a 69, offsetting a disappointing opening 73 to finish the day on level par.

But joint overnight leader David Toms managed to undo all the good work of his opening round, carding a 75 to drop back to level par.


Meanwhile, American Jonathan Kaye and England's Roger Chapman were both disqualified after Friday's second round for signing incorrect scores.

Kaye signed for a four at the 389-yard 11th where he scored a five and a five at the 381-yard 12th where he collected a regulation par-four.

Chapman signed for a three at the 185-yard seventh where he carded a bogey-four.

Padraig Harrington
"I need play that way for the next two days"
Ernie Els
"I did nothing wrong in the front nine"
Colin Montgomerie
"Now I've every chance of doing well"
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