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Howell once again in great position heading into weekend

Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Charles Howell III made two birdies and two bogeys on Friday.

SAN DIEGO - For the third consecutive week, Charles Howell III finds himself lurking near the top of the leaderboard after two rounds of play. But Howell is hoping for a different result on Sunday evening.

Howell is hoping for a win.

An even-par 72 on Torrey Pines' South Course on Friday afternoon has Howell sitting at six under at the Farmers Insurance Open, five shots back of leader Tiger Woods.

Contender is a role Howell has become accustomed to this season. In his two starts, Howell fired 17 under at the Sony Open in Hawaii two weeks ago for a T3, and he followed that up with a 25-under performance that ended in a playoff loss at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta last weekend. In both tournaments, Howell hung tight, but he failed to close.

Will this weekend in San Diego be any different?

Catching Woods - who has won at Torrey Pines seven times in his pro career - will be no small feat, but Howell has some additional incentive. Unless he wins before April, Howell will be watching the Masters just like the rest of us: from the outside looking in. He has yet to receive an invitation to compete for the legendary green jacket.

Should it come down to a tightly contested race on Sunday at Torrey Pines, Howell has reason to be optimistic. Three of his last four final-round performances at the Farmers have resulted in sub-par scores.

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