Watney, Garcia in joint lead; Woods stutters

Back pain hurts Americans chances; Harrington slips

Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia moved into a tie for the lead in Friday's second round of the Barclays tournament in Farmingdale as Tiger Woods battled back pain to lurk just three shots off the pace.

swinging it right Nick Watney in action in the Barclay’s tournament in Farmingdale on Friday. AFP

American Watney fired a two-under-par 69 and Spaniard Garcia a 68 on the difficult, fast-running Bethpage Black layout to end a blustery afternoon at eight-under 134.

Fijian former world number one Vijay Singh, relishing being pain-free after three years of assorted health problems, was a further stroke back after carding a 67, level with American Bob Estes (66).

The ominous figure of Woods was at five under, the American world number three having recovered from a bogey-bogey start to shoot a 69 in pursuit of his fourth PGA Tour victory this year.

Woods said he had hurt his back sleeping on a soft hotel bed overnight, and that he had to grit his teeth through pain throughout his round. "It hurt all day," Woods told reporters after making four birdies in his last 15 holes. "I didn't feel very good.

It didn't hurt standing up or at the bottom of a squat but somewhere in between it was going to catch.”

Woods lipped out with a birdie putt from 16 feet on his final hole, the par-four 18th, but was overall happy with his position going into the weekend. "I'm only three back so I'm right there," said the American, who led the points standings this week coming into the first of the PGA Tour's four lucrative FedExCup playoff events.

Watney was also delighted to be in contention as he seeks his first victory on the US circuit since the AT&T National.

"It's been a little while since I've been in this position, and it feels good to be back," said the American, who briefly led the elite field by two shots before bogeying two of his last three holes.

Garcia, who ended a four-year title drought on the PGA Tour by winning the rain-delayed Wyndham Championship on Monday, was happy to have played well in the tougher conditions of the afternoon. "Definitely a nice round," said the Spaniard.

"Yesterday was a very nice round but it was playing easier than today. The greens were very, very firm out there, so it was difficult to hit it close to some of the pins, even from the fairway."

Overnight leader Padraig Harrington of Ireland endured a difficult day, bogeying five of his first eight holes on the way to a 75 and a three-under total.

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