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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 20, 2010

Harrington takes lead at Transitions


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Padraig Harrington leads a group of four by one stroke after the second round in Palm Harbor Fla.

CHRIS O'MEARA | Associated Press

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Padraig Harrington, already assured of a memorable week after his trip to the White House, put himself in position to make it even better at the Transitions Championship yesterday at Palm Harbor, Fla.

Harrington picked up a pair of bonus birdies over the last five holes for a 6-under 65, his low score of the year, and built a one-shot lead going into the weekend on the tough Copperhead course at Innisbrook.

The Irishman has not won a sanctioned tournament since his PGA Championship victory at Oakland Hills at the end of 2008.

"I'm capable of winning in the form I'm in," said Harrington, who was at 8-under 134. "Am I in my best form? No. Am I getting there? Yes."

Jim Furyk was atop the leaderboard with Harrington until missing a 6-foot par putt on the final hole. It wasn't enough to take away from an otherwise solid round of 68 to put him one shot behind.

Also at 7-under 135 were Carl Pettersson, Bubba Watson and Retief Goosen.

Harrington took a whirlwind trip to Washington on Wednesday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with President Barack Obama and Ireland's prime minister.

PRO BASKETBALL

AMERICAN TEEN QUITS IN ISRAEL

Former U.S. high school basketball star Jeremy Tyler quit Israeli team Maccabi Haifa and returned home yesterday, cutting short a disappointing first pro season.

The 18-year-old Tyler arrived in Israel on a wave of publicity in August after deciding to skip his senior year at San Diego High School to gain professional experience.

In the 10 games Tyler played for Haifa, the 6-foot-11 power forward averaged only 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 7.6 minutes.

Tyler was the first American-born player to leave high school early to play professionally overseas. Some had seen him as a potential No. 1 pick overall when he's eligible for the NBA draft in 2011.

ELSEWHERE

Wrestling: Iowa locked up a third straight team title last night at the NCAA championships in Omaha, Neb., sending five wrestlers to the finals and building an insurmountable lead over Cornell. The Hawks amassed 120.5 points through the semifinals. Cornell had 75, Iowa State 67 and Wisconsin 62.

More golf: Wales' Rhys Davies shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 to take a two-shot lead at 13 under in the Trophee Hassan II at Rabat, Morocco. South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen (64), France's Thomas Levet (65) and Spain's Ignacio Garrido (67) were tied for second.

Tennis: Jelena Jankovic defeated Samantha Stosur, 6-2, 6-4, yesterday to reach the women's final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif., where she'll play Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki beat fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-2, 6-3.

Auto racing: Joey Logano won his first career pole yesterday with the top qualifying lap at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. Logano posted a lap at 124.630 mph to earn the first starting spot for tomorrow's race. Kurt Busch qualified second with a lap at 123.857.

College football: Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti is stepping down after less than a year in the position to become a college football analyst with ESPN. Bellotti was head coach of the Ducks for 14 seasons before he formally took over as athletic director last July.

College basketball: Norm Roberts was fired as the basketball coach of St. John's after six seasons only two of them with a winning record. The Red Storm lost to Memphis two days ago in the first round of the NIT to complete a 17-16 season.

NFL: Free-agent linebacker Joey Porter agreed to a three-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Porter, an 11-year NFL veteran and four-time Pro Bowler, spent the past three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.