Harrington in contention at CA Championship

Padraig Harrington is right in the thick of things with a round to go at the WGC-CA Championship in Miami.

Padraig Harrington is right in the thick of things with a round to go at the WGC-CA Championship in Miami.

Ireland's three-time Major winner, whose last Tour title was the US PGA 19 months ago, even moved into a tie for the lead before three-putting the last for his only bogey of the day.

A five-under-par 67 leaves Harrington 11-under-par, one behind South Africans Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel in the race for a first prize of $1.4m (€1m).

Els, one in front of Australian Robert Allenby at halfway, had a chance to establish a firm grip on the event, but missed from four feet at the 13th and three feet on the 16th.

He returned a 70, while 25-year-old Schwartzel - twice a winner in his home country already this year - matched Harrington's round.

"That finish leaves a sour taste, but it has no effect on the outcome tomorrow," said the Dubliner. "Who plays the best is going to win.

"I putted all right today and I hit a good second putt. What can you do? I will take certainly take another 67."

Allenby is in fourth place two back, while German Martin Kaymer (66) and England's Paul Casey (68) are not out of the running at eight-under and seven-under respectively.

Casey was given extra motivation afterwards when told about television commentator Johnny Miller calling him "the biggest under-achiever in golf".

Second and fourth in his last two events - and three times a winner last season before tearing a rib muscle - Casey could go second in the world with victory.

"I feel I'm coming into the prime of my career," he said. "I've gone through ups and downs and I'm just coming off an injury."

Asked specifically about Miller's words he added: "I can't comment on that. There's a lot I could say, but I will leave you to defend me. It's a back-handed compliment, I suppose."

Kaymer, Europe's best putter last season, showed American golf fans what he was capable of, needing only 22 putts in his best-of-the-day effort.

Already a winner in Abu Dhabi this season, he is currently eighth in the world, but relatively unknown in the States.

"I've been working very hard on my putting for the last two weeks and so one day it should pay off," said the Ryder Cup hopeful, who was forced to take two months off last year after breaking three toes in a go-kart accident.

Titanium plates were inserted in his foot after that, but they will be coming out after The Masters next week.

"I thought it was going to be later in the season, but I can't go running, I can't do anything, so I talked to my doctor and he said he can take them out."

Harrington missed a birdie chance from under six feet on the opening green, but made amends from similar range at the fifth and birdied the long eighth as well.

His big move, though, came on the back nine when he picked up further strokes at the 11th, 12th, 16th and 17th - the last of those after an amazing 379-yard drive downwind.

Fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell produced a decent day's work too, a two-under 70 taking him to four-under and increasing his hopes of staying in the world top 50 and earning a place in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in two weeks.

The golf world is still waiting to see if Tiger Woods returns there, but the latest indications are that he will wait for The Masters.

Luke Donald shot 69 for two under and Ross Fisher a 70 for one under, but Lee Westwood had his second 74 of the week and stands level-par.

Ross McGowan (70) was one further back, Simon Dyson (73) two-over, World Match Play champion Ian Poulter remained six-over - he has been suffering from a stiff neck - and Rory McIlroy was alongside him following a 73.

England's Oliver Wilson had tailed off last on 13-over, an unhappy week continuing with a 77.

Schwartzel stayed with Els last week and growing up was part of the group helped out by the former Open champion's Foundation.

"I think it's a wonderful cool story," said Els, referring to the fact that they will be the last two-some to tee off in the final round.

"We talked about it, but I don't think in our wildest dreams we would have imagined it. It's great for South African golf and world golf - he's a new young star and a force to be reckoned with.

"He owes me big time? I fed him well and gave him good wine. He almost feels like a little brother in some ways.

"We will shake hands and then play 18 holes as hard as we can."

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