Sport Golf

Thursday 22 February 2018

Harrington chasing boost for Carton

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

PADRAIG Harrington ploughs a lone furrow on the PGA Tour this week as his fellow Irish Major winners take a break in advance of the Irish Open at Carton House, which starts next Thursday.

Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke are pondering the lessons of Merion while Harrington gets ready to tee off today in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut.

A finish in Philadelphia of tied-21st on 11-over par leaves Harrington cautiously optimistic about his game.

He had 53 pars but only six birdies at Merion. Overall, quite a solid performance but the Dubliner felt he didn't take advantage of the birdie chances he made.

"All in all, there were a lot of good things during the week. I know it could have been a lot better had things gone for me, but it wasn't to be," he said.

Harrington noted that some players in the US Open had as many birdies in a round as he had for the 72 holes, but he goes into today feeling confident.

The three-time Major winner prioritised his wedge play in practice and, if he can sort that out, he hopes for a good few days in a tournament where he finished tied 11th last year and tied fifth in 2010.

Apart from any other consideration, Harrington hopes the Travelers can send him to Carton House with confidence next week.

He has always considered the Irish Open his 'fifth Major' and after suffering the huge mental and physical challenges posed to all the players at Merion by the USGA, Harrington is glad to tune up at a less daunting course.

"Some parts of my game are good and strong and I look forward to another week of getting ready for the Irish Open. I certainly am glad it's not this week, though," said Harrington.

Meanwhile, action in Europe resumes with the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried in Germany.

A star-studded international field has turned up for duty, including British Open champion Ernie Els, America's Dustin Johnson, Ryder Cup-winning captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie, Germany's top star Martin Kaymer and in-the-wars Sergio Garcia.

Holder Danny Willett from England says he is not fully fit as he battles a recurring back injury, but is eager to tee it up and defend the title he won when the tournament was staged in Cologne last year.

Four Irishmen will be in action: Peter Lawrie, David Higgins, Gareth Maybin and Shane Lowry.

Lowry, in particular, is primed for action, as he is the Tour pro at Carton House and will want to put on a good performance in front of the big home support next week.

The two-time Tour winner took the Irish title as an amateur in 2009 at Baltray, Co Louth, and captured his maiden victory as a professional with the Portugal Masters last October.

* Tiger Woods has been diagnosed with a left elbow strain that will keep him out of competition until next month's British Open at Muirfield.

The world No 1 had been suffering minor discomfort before last week's US Open at Merion, where he aggravated the problem and was seen wincing and shaking his left arm on several occasions.

Travelers Championship,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

BMW International Open,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 3.30

Irish Independent

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