Sunday 22 October 2017

Harrington confident of returning to glory days

Karl MacGinty

HOPES that Padraig Harrington might end his long victory drought at the US Open were undermined when he went nowhere on 'Moving Day' ... yet the Dubliner performed impressively enough over the week at Olympic to suggest his future may still bring a fourth Major title.

As he ventured out into the cold fog that enveloped many of San Francisco's south-western suburbs yesterday afternoon, Harrington had already shrugged off the disappointment of the third-round 71 which left him tied-18th and six off the pace.

Harrington nominated imprecision with his wedges as the reason for his failure to take advantage of relatively benign scoring conditions (by US Open standards) on Saturday.

It's probably fair to suggest that playing shots into the disconcertingly hard putting surfaces at the US Open left Harrington second-guessing himself with wedge in hand.

Though his putting certainly was not up to scratch on Thursday and could have been better on Saturday as Harrington left himself with a long series of 15-footers for birdie, the Dubliner is confident that he can regain former glories on the green.

"It is amazing when people are holing putts, they continue to hole them; go on a good run and play better golf because of it," he said. "I've holed my fair share in my time and I will hole plenty more.

confident

"Out of the first three days, I've had two where I scored as bad as I could and that's disappointing," Harrington conceded. "Yet I am quite confident that if I keep playing as well as I have been, wins will come around.

"There will be more Major wins," he concluded with conviction.

Meanwhile, after the bitter disappointment of yet another missed cut -- his fourth in five tournaments -- Rory McIlroy faces a huge test of character in the coming weeks.

A year ago the young Northern Irishman was leaving the rest for dead as he headed towards US Open glory. Last night in San Francisco he was simply leaving.

Rounds of 77 and 73 meant McIlroy exited on 10-over-par, having taken 19 more strokes than he did on the first two days in Washington.

That spoke volumes about the relative difficulty of the Olympic Club and Congressional, where he went on to win by eight with a record 16-under total.

But, having crashed out early as well from Sawgrass, Wentworth and Muirfield Village, the next month takes on huge importance.

"I felt I really turned a corner last week (he was seventh in Memphis and shared the lead until a closing double bogey), but this course is so punishing," said the world No 2.

"You really have to be so precise out there. We're just not used to playing this sort of course week in, week out. You have to adapt and adjust and I wasn't able to do that very well."

After a week off he returns in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush. A fortnight after that comes The British Open at Royal Lytham.

Irish Independent

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