Saturday 20 December 2014

Padraig Harrington's PGA Tour card is gone with the Wyndham

William S Callahan

Published 16/08/2014 | 02:30

Padraig Harrington banked just $169,175 in prizemoney (Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE)
Padraig Harrington banked just $169,175 in prizemoney (Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE)

The worst of Padraig Harrington's 10 straight seasons as a full-member of the PGA Tour fizzled out yesterday as the Dubliner slumped to his ninth missed cut in 15 US events this year at the Wyndham Championship.

Two rounds of two-over-par 72 in perfect scoring conditions at Sedgefield Country Club left Harrington wallowing close to the foot of the leaderboard in Greensboro, North Carolina.

He was 14 behind Americans Heath Slocum (40) and Scott Langley (25), who held the clubhouse lead after opening with back-to-back 65s.

With a paltry $169,175 prizemoney banked as the regular American season draws to a conclusion this weekend, Harrington has lost his PGA Tour card, though he'll still be able to play on the US circuit in 2015 on a 'once-only' exemption available to those on the top 50 in career money.

Needing a top-two finish to save his card this week and a first victory since the 2008 US PGA to have any chance of making the upcoming FedEx Cup play-offs, Harrington is performing so far below his best right now and too short of confidence to have had any chance of hitting either target.

His well-documented putting problems were painfully apparent on 15, his sixth hole, where his double-bogey seven included four putts, including three from inside six feet.

Sadly, his short-game ills have crept into the rest of Harrington's game. Before Thursday's tee off, he was a lowly 168th in Strokes Gained Putting (a measure of putting performance against the field average each week) on the US Tour, 179th in Greens in Regulation, 174th in Driving Accuracy and 138th in scrambling.

Tellingly, he managed to find just seven of 14 fairways off the tee yesterday and 13 of 28 in the first two rounds.

Hitting just seven of 18 greens in regulation in the second round, plus a splendid chip-in at 14 for one of his two birdies, helps explain how Harrington had just 27 putts in the second round.

After a short break, Harrington will focus on the European Tour and his campaign to haul himself from 89th in the Race to Dubai into the 60-man field for November's showpiece DP World Tour Championship.

Meanwhile, Peter Lawrie held on grimly during a four-over-par 75 yesterday to make the cut on the mark at the Made in Denmark Championship. Getting to the weekend for only the fourth time in 21 events this year was hugely significant for the Dubliner as he battles to save his European Tour card.

Ireland's best after Thursday's one-under 70, Lawrie scrambled through in a tie for 52nd on three-over.

Bradley Dredge led by four on eight-under at Himmerland after yesterday's 68. Gareth Maybin shared 25th on even par after his sweet 67, while Damien McGrane was one back in 35th after a 70.

Kevin Phelan rebounded brilliantly from a nightmare first-round 82 with a flawless 65. Sadly, he still missed the cut, as did Simon Thornton, Michael Hoey and David Higgins.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Caldwell (29) produced his best performance in six years as a pro as he made it into the three-man play-off at the EuroPro Tour's Break 90 Classic at DeVere Slaley Hall.

Caldwell was pipped in sudden death by a birdie from Englishman Andrew Cheese after a flawless six-under 66 thrust the Clandeboye native into a tie for the lead on 12-under in the 54-hole event.

Caldwell banked £3,750 (€4,674), while the winner scooped £10,000 (€12,464). North West's Michael McGeady tied fifth, worth £1,200 (€1,496), on nine-under after an even-par 72.

Cesar Monasterio equalled the lowest round in European Senior Tour history as a superlative 11-under-par 61 thrust the Argentinian into the first-round lead at the SSE Scottish Senior Open.

Des Smyth lay 20th after a two-under 70, while Philip Walton and Ronan Rafferty were in 41st after their 72s. Denis O'Sullivan opened with a 75 at the Torrance Championship Course in St Andrews.

Wyndham Championship,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0

Irish Independent

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