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IRISHMAN Padraig Harrington gave himself the chance to create history in Georgia with a second-round 68 - after his start on Thursday left him fighting to make the halfway cut.

No player has won at Augusta National after an opening 77 or an eight-stroke deficit after the first round.

But a seven-birdie second round - matched as the low score of the week so far by Paul Casey only 10 minutes later - brought the popular Dubliner back into contention for his first Major title.

He was on the same one-over halfway mark of 145 as David Howell but that was a disappointment for the Swindon golfer as he could only follow up his initial 70 with a 75.

Harrington, left, said: "I thought the course was an excellent test and set up very well.

"It was a good mental test - when to go for pins and when to play safe. You have got to give it your full attention. Yesterday I messed up a lot of simple shots."

That included pitching into the lake on the 15th for a triple-bogey eight. On his return to the hole he birdied and then put the icing on the cake with another at the last.

Howell needed two attempts to get out of a greenside bunker on the first for a double bogey then hooked horribly at the 575-yard second and had to take a penalty drop from the bushes en route to another six.

He fought back to stand level par with one to go then hit another wild one into the trees and did well to drop only one shot.

Summing up his round, Howell said: "An interesting day. I'm not in control of the ball as I'd like to be. I haven't been all year but I'm not going to be a million miles away at the end of the day.

"I'm in the hunt again at Augusta which is wonderful. I dodged a bullet on the 18th. It could easily have been a six or a seven.

"Three over is not what you want on the Friday of a Major but the way I hit the ball beggars can't be choosers."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 7, 2007
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