Woods looking up at Harrington

Updated: August 7, 2009, 7:49 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods will need to overcome his biggest 36-hole deficit at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational if he is to win the tournament for the seventh time.

With a birdie on his 17th hole of the day, Woods avoided what would have been just his seventh over-par score at Firestone Country Club dating to 1997.

Woods
Woods

Still, his even-par 70 left him in 13th place, five strokes behind Padraig Harrington after Friday's second round.

"I hit the ball pretty good, I just made absolutely nothing," said Woods, who is coming off the 69th victory of his PGA Tour career Sunday at the Buick Open. "And it's not like I was hitting bad putts. I hit some beautiful putts, I just couldn't seem to hit them hard enough."

Woods needed 31 putts and has made just five birdies through two rounds. He has also hit just 12 of 28 fairways and 26 of 36 greens in regulation. Still, Firestone is not Warwick Hills, where Woods shot 20 under to win last week's event.

"You just have to be very patient," Woods said. "This golf course is playing like it normally does, and it's very similar to a major championship. It always has played that way. … A good number this week is going to be somewhere in the high 60s and more than likely you can move up the board."

Harrington, the three-time major champion who will defend his PGA Championship title next week at Hazeltine National, added a 69 to his opening-round 64.

It was the first time this year that Harrington has led a sanctioned event, and he admitted that it affected the way he played.

"I was conservative and cautious as you might expect leading the tournament," said Harrington, who began a swing overhaul late last year that has contributed to his failure to crack the top 10 in any PGA Tour event this year. "I played it a little safe leading the tournament. I haven't been up there for a while, so it's kind of what I expected. I'm not as confident and free-flowing, and I was trying not to make mistakes."

Harrington completed 36 holes at 7-under-par 133. He began the round two strokes ahead of Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng, who finished Friday's round tied for fourth, three strokes behind Harrington.

Woods was tied for 10th at the time with British Open champion Stewart Cink and Retief Goosen.

Spain's Alvaro Quiros had the round of the day, a 5-under-par 65 that put him two strokes out of the lead.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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