The golf notebook
AKRON, Ohio ó Padraig Harrington broke par for the second straight day, something he hasn’t done in four months. Two more days like that and it could lead to something he hasn’t done in a year.
Without a victory since the PGA Championship, Harrington tread carefully across Firestone on Friday for a 1-under 69 that gave him a one-shot lead over Tim Clark (68) going into the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Harrington didn’t put much stock into his opening round of 64, and he wasn’t ready to declare himself the favorite to win his first World Golf Championship. Even so, he conceded that consecutive good rounds were helpful.
“I’m obviously pleased,” said Harrington, who was at 7-under 133. “I shot a good score yesterday ó put me up there ó and it’s nice to shoot a reasonable score to back it up. Break 70 on the weekend a few more times and I should be doing OK.”
Scott Verplank went 35 holes without a bogey until hitting into the trees on the 18th hole and dropping a shot for a 69, leaving him alone in third at 135.
Tiger Woods, a six-time winner at Firestone, was among 20 players within five shots of the lead, although he found himself in a peculiar spot after an even-par 70. He was tied for 13th, the first time after any round at Firestone he has been out of the top 10. He was 2 under, the same score he had in 2007 when he went on to win by eight.
Phil Mickelson, playing for the first time since his wife’s surgery for breast cancer last month, made a few great escapes from the rough and put together a 69 to finish six shots behind Harrington.
U.S. Women’s AmateurST. LOUIS (AP) ó Jennifer Song moved within two matches of becoming the second woman to win two U.S. Golf Association championships in the same year, beating Stephanie Kono 2 and 1 in the U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals.
The 19-year-old Song, the University of Southern California player who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links in June, will face Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., on Saturday at Old Warson. Lua beat Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., 3 and 2.
Pearl Sinn is the only woman to win two USGA titles in a year, taking the 1988 Women’s Amateur and Women’s Amateur Public Links.
In the other semifinal, 14-year-old Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., will play Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif. Thompson beat South Korea’s Han Jungeun 1-up, and Johnson had a 5-and-4 victory over Candace Schepperle of Birmingham, Ala.