Thursday 29 June 2017

Harrington battles injury but challenge sinks on 18th

Padraig Harrington drove left into water on the 18th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. Photo: Getty Images
Padraig Harrington drove left into water on the 18th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. Photo: Getty Images

William S Callahan

Pádraig Harrington knows that the golf season is a marathon not a sprint, but he still battled as hard as he could to survive the cut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, Arizona.

This is only his second event of 2017, and the odds were against the three-time Major champion whose preparations for last week's Farmers Insurance Open, and now Scottsdale, have been seriously hampered by a trapped nerve in his neck.

'Beware the injured golfer' is a trusted adage of the game, and often it comes true, but not this time for Harrington.

He was happy with his short game but felt concerned about the effect of the injury.

It was not causing him pain as such, but his index finger went numb and he had a sensation of pins and needles in that part of his hand.

"The problem I am having is that I have no power when I'm hitting and I have lost over 10mph in ball speed because of it, which makes the game very hard if you are giving up that amount of speed," he said on Facebook.

All of which did not help his cause as he sought to improve on his opening 72, one-over par, yesterday.

Daunting

Harrington dropped a shot on the par-four fifth, but a birdie three on the eighth lifted his spirits. He struck a short iron shot 160 yards to five feet and rolled the ball into the cup.

A three-putt from 40 feet for bogey on the short 12th was cancelled out by a nice birdie four on the par-five 13th, where he pitched in from off the green.

Level par for the day, with five holes to play and the cut projected at that mark early in the day gave the Dubliner a daunting challenge.

Hopes were raised by his birdie four at the 553-yard 15th where he rolled the ball home from 14 feet to go one-under for the day and level overall.

But then came a late shocker when he drove left into water on the 18th. Harrington did well to limit the damage to a bogey five by holing from 14 feet once he reached the green for a par 71.

At one-over for 36 holes, he needed help from others to get a place in the top 70 and ties who go forward to the weekend.

Shane Lowry was among the later starters and hoped to build on his opening 69 (two-under).

The clubhouse target was set at 10-under par by Byeong Hun An of South Korea and America's Brendan Steele who shot 66 and 67 respectively.

  • Omega Dubai Desert Classic: Live, Sky Sports 4, 9.30am
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open: Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

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