Cold putter undermines Harrington challenge as Rose blooms
IT was a tale of two putters, one hot and the other not, at TPC River Highlands yesterday as Justin Rose loped clear at The Travelers Championship with a sizzling 62 and Padraig Harrington stalled with a one-over-par 71 in his second round.
Rose and Harrington had shared the overnight lead with Matt Goggin and Charlie Wi after shooting 64 on Thursday but there their paths diverged.
While the in-form Englishman landed eight birdies on his way to a five-stroke clubhouse lead over Vijay Singh, Bill Lunde and US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, Harrington once again returned to the unerringly inconsistent golf which has blighted much of his season. Though he salved the sting of a dropped shot at four with back-to-back birdies at the next two holes, Harrington then let three glorious opportunities slip as he missed from well inside 10 feet at nine, 11 and 12.
Then the Dubliner racked up an ugly six after losing his tee shot left on the long 13th; needed to hole out from 17 feet for his bogey five at 14 and then sank a six-footer for birdie at the driveable 15th.
Harrington then missed from inside five feet for his par after short-siding himself at the last. By comparison, Rose, 29, was bogey-free as he boosted his prospects of winning on his first outing since last month's breakthrough PGA Tour success at The Memorial and claiming an unprecedented fourth successive victory by European golfers in the States.
"I'm putting nicely and making a lot of eight- to 10-footers," said the Englishman.
Meanwhile, Des Smyth entered the weekend at The De Vere PGA Seniors Championship in fifth, four shy of leader David J Russell, after a second successive one-under-par 71 on The Hunting Course at Slaley Hall.
Denis O'Sullivan (72) and Peter O'Hagan (75) made the cut on six-over, while Eamonn Darcy missed out by one. Elsewhere, Rebecca Coakley and Martina Gillen both were 15th on two-under after first round 70s at the Portuguese Ladies Open. They trailed Italian Sophie Sandolo by four at Campo Real. Tara Delaney started with four bogeys but recovered well for a 72, while Hazel Kavanagh shot 77.
On the domestic front, James Hepworth, 35, beat fellow Englishman Darren Gaunt on the first extra hole at the Galgorm Castle Northern Ireland EuroPro Open. Four shots back, Gareth Shaw was best of the Irish in a tie for third after shooting a 66.
Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0