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Pádraig looks in major form

Pádraig Harrington looks to be running into top form with the Masters starting a fortnight on Thursday.

Third in Miami last Sunday, the 38-year-old Dubliner took a one-stroke lead into the third round of the Transitions Championship at Palm Harbor today.

A six-under-par 65 yesterday was his lowest round of the season and pushed defending champion Retief Goosen, Swede Carl Pettersson and American Jim Furyk into joint second place.

Harrington, without a Tour win since he won back-to-back majors at the Open and USPGA two years ago, grabbed seven birdies.

The Dubliner, who missed Wednesday's pro-am to attend a St Patrick's Day dinner hosted by President Obama at the White House, said: "I'm capable of winning in the form I'm in. "Am I in my best form? No. Am I getting there? Yes.

"I've played tournaments where I've played great coming down the stretch and not won and I've played tournaments where I've played average and won.

"I haven't won in a while (his last Tour success was the 2008 US PGA), but it's more about putting yourself in competition right up there and testing yourself.

"You learn a lot more when you're in that sort of position. I had a good week last week where I tested my game and I'll have another go here.

"I'll be thinking about it a little bit more than maybe I should -- and worried a little bit more -- and that's the sort of pressure you want in a build-up for a major tournament. But I won't be thinking about the Masters. I'll be thinking about Transitions. That's my focus for the next two days."

Harrington was asked about the possibility of being paired with Tiger Woods on the opening two days at Augusta.

He said: "If there is an issue being drawn with him in his first tournament back, if you're going to choose a golf course for it to happen, Augusta is it.

"It is as ordered as can be there, so I for one would be quite comfortable if I got drawn with Tiger.

"I do not see it being any different than being drawn with him the first two rounds last year. I do believe, though, if it was first two rounds at Bay Hill, that would be slightly different.

"But then again, you wouldn't mind being there to watch it all!"

Woods would have faced a lot noisier crowd at next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, but decided to start his comeback at the first major of the season.

Ian Poulter missed the cut last night, but Ross Fisher is four-under, Luke Donald three-under, Martin Laird two-under, Justin Rose one further back after a 68 last night.