'I felt good mentally' - Padraig Harrington on rediscovery of form
Two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington believes he has rediscovered some form in the majors after an encouraging performance in the 144th championship at St Andrews.
Since winning the 2008 US PGA Championship, his third career major, he has recorded just three top-10 finishes - the last coming joint-fourth at the 2012 US Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
Even though his seven-under total - after a disappointing final-round 75 - was only good enough for a share of 20th at the Open, the way he got himself into contention has provided renewed optimism,
"I felt very good mentally; not great on the greens at times but very good mentally up to a certain point," he said.
"Then the greens kind of got a bit to me. I hit lovely shots really all the way home.
"Only really that tee shot on 17 wasn't great but everything was pretty strong.
"I felt I hit the ball every bit as well as I needed to but I clearly didn't putt well today.
"I have to think about that and figure it out."
Three birdies in five holes lifted him to 13 under and into a share of the lead but he hit his drive into a gorse bush to double-bogey the sixth and, although he got it back to 11 under with seven holes remaining, three bogeys and a double did more damage despite a brilliant long, curling birdie putt at the 16th.
"Things were going well and I thought (on the sixth), 'Why not take it on at that stage?' and it was disappointing the lose the ball," said the Irishman.
"It wasn't the end of the world but after three-putting eight (the par three) I really struggled with the putter after that."
Towards the end Harrington began to be conscious his play may affect Australian Marc Leishman, who was leading, and that then impacted on his game.
"It was an inconsequential finish but it is still disappointing," he said.
"I was always trying but I went to the toilet at 17 and Marc had bogeyed the one before and he wanted to hit his tee shot and I wanted to get out of the way and at that stage it was really about trying to get into the clubhouse.
"I was trying to get out of Marc's way and I didn't really focus in on what I was doing."