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Progress is Pádraig's target

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON was set to make his debut at the RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head today, aiming to build on his eighth-place finish in the Masters.

The Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina favours accuracy and putting over power on a picturesque course beside the sea. Harrington finished in a tie for eighth position alongside Adam Scott and Justin Rose at the Masters in Augusta, his best finish in a major since his 2008 USPGA victory at Oakland Hills.

The Dubliner is 25/1 to end |his long winless run this week, with world number one Luke Donald favourite to go one better than his play-off defeat to Brandt Snedeker last year.

The 36-year-old Englishman, who made history by becoming the first player to top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic last year, was never in contention at last week’s Masters and remains in search of his first major title.

By the time he posted his final-round 68, Donald had already shot himself out of Augusta with rounds of 75, 73 and 75, finishing tied for 32nd.

“I didn't hit the ball particularly well with my irons the first couple of rounds,” Donald said. “I didn't hole as many putts as I would have liked, three or four three-putts during the week.

“Some positives, though. I hit a lot of fairways last week, 80 percent, which is a good stat.”


Now Donald will try to get back to the winner’s circle at a tournament where he has come close before.

He was third here in 2010 and last year lost to Snedeker in a play-off – a defeat that postponed Donald's rise to No1.

“I remember being pretty nervous come Sunday because I knew what was on the line,” Donald recalled. “Obviously, if I won I was going to go to No1. And it didn't quite work out. Brandt played a great round and beat me in the play-off.”

Snedeker will take a “deep breath” before beginning the title defence. After finishing 19th in the Masters last week, he admits competing at Augusta National makes for a stressful experience.

“It's exhausting, last week was very exhausting,” Snedeker said. “It's time to take a deep breath this week and get back in the normal routine.”