Double trouble sends Pádraig Harrington tumbling out of the reckoning
Pádraig Harrington confessed that his bid for a fourth Major win is over for another year after he made four double-bogeys in a 79 at Quail Hollow - the highest round of his US PGA career.
The Dubliner (45) was out for the count from the moment he made three doubles in a row on his front nine, posting his highest round in the US PGA since he closed with a 78 in his defence of the Wanamaker Trophy at Hazeltine National in 2009.
"No, I can't come back from eight-over par," he said after the worst of his 57 US PGA rounds. "I can't remember making three double-bogeys in a row before.
"I had to hole a nice eight-footer on the last just to break 80! But it's not as if I am not going to try tomorrow."
The three-time Major winner was grinding out a decent round before that front-nine triple-whammy.
"I thought the golf course was very tough, but I thought they set it up very fair," said Harrington who followed a birdie at the third with a bogey at the fifth before making another double-bogey at his penultimate hole.
"But if you get out of position, you are in trouble."
Having holed a 30-footer for par at the 13th, his fourth, Harrington made a six-footer for another par at the driveable 14th before disaster struck. He looked set to make birdie at the 575-yard 15th after a big drive. But, after waiting an eternity for the green, the Dubliner carved his second from a side slope up against a fence 30 yards right of the fairway and had to take a penalty drop, eventually three-putting from just over the back of the green for a seven.
"We waited a long time on the 15th fairway, and when I got over the ball, I didn't realise how much of a side slope I was on," Harrington said. "I wasn't comfortable with it and I hit a bad shot. I should have been making birdie and all of I sudden I make double."
Like buses, golfing disasters often arrive in threes and after playing out of turn as a favour to Davis Love III on the 16th, he got a "mud ball" and flew left into the lake to run up another double-bogey.
"That's the nature of golf," Harrington shrugged. "If I birdie 15, then I might have been happy to hit it in the right-hand bunker on 16. But, no, I try to hit it in the middle of the green, it's a mud ball, and in trying not to hit it right, I hit it left."
To add insult to injury, Harrington pulled his tee-shot into the lake at the par-three 17th and made another double-bogey, turning in 42 before battling back to five-over with a birdie from eight feet at the third.
He then bogeyed the fifth and made another double-bogey at the eighth after taking three to get down from just over the green.
Never a fan of Bermuda rough, Harrington said: "I only made one bogey, but if you do miss the fairway, it really is difficult to predict how the ball will react out of the rough.
"The new grass is very different to when we played the Wells Fargo here two years ago," he added. "But that's golf."