Monday 23 April 2018

Dubliner sets his sights high after taking share of lead in Scotland as McIlroy fails to make the cut again

 

Pádraig Harrington plays an approach shot during the second round of the Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. Photo: Reuters
Pádraig Harrington plays an approach shot during the second round of the Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. Photo: Reuters

Phil Casey

A relaxed Pádraig Harrington does not believe a fourth Major title would alter his golfing legacy, but concedes a third Open victory next week might lead to a hasty change of heart.

The prospects of that happening shortened considerably after the 45-year-old claimed a share of the halfway lead in the £5.4m Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

Harrington swapped the drama of his opening 67 for a "boring" and bogey-free 68 to finish nine-under par, a total matched by England's Callum Shinkwin and Germany's Alexander Knappe.

The Open returns to Birkdale next week and Harrington is relaxed about the prospect of getting his hands on the Claret Jug for the third time.

"Anything that comes my way from here would be a bonus," said Harrington, who has played just nine events in 2017 and underwent surgery on a trapped nerve in his neck in March.

"I will win tournaments, that's for sure, but I'm not turning up trying to change my legacy. I've kind of come to the conclusion that I've pretty much done what I've done in the game of golf.

"I enjoy being out here. Why bother beating myself up over it? If I win another Major, not a huge deal. If you told me I was going to win another six Majors, well, okay, that might be a difference.

"But it's not going to change me and there's no point in me fighting it at this stage. I'm enjoying what I'm doing and kind of letting it happen.

"I'd love to win another Major and if I did win next week I'd sit here on Sunday and tell you all the reasons why it does make a difference to my career! But at the moment, I'm going to tell you I found myself in a better place by deflecting a little bit in that sense."

However, a frustrated Rory McIlroy heads into next week's Open on the back of a third missed cut in four events after his poor form continued.

The 28-year-old could only add a 71 to his opening 74 at Dundonald Links to finish one-over par and admitted his birdie attempt on the 18th to have a chance of making the weekend was "terrible".

Irish Independent

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