Thursday 14 December 2017

Harrington falls short as Jimenez fires ahead

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington

Claude Hooper

ASK any stranger to pick the Irish golfer from playing companions Miguel Angel Jimenez and Padraig Harrington at Kennemer and they'd surely opt for the Spaniard.

Along with his ruddy complexion and a wild mop of red hair corralled into a pony tail, Jimenez actually plays like a Celt. His game certainly appears to be a perfect fit for this classy old Tommy Colt seaside course in Holland.

Jimenez's phenomenally effective homemade swing allows him to hit the ball low and with the accuracy of an Olympic archer.

This combination helped Jimenez claim a share of the lead on nine-under with fellow countryman and practice partner Pablo Larrazabal at the KLM Open.

As Jimenez followed up Thurday's 65 with a bogey-free 67, Harrington stumbled to his sixth missed cut in eight starts, falling one outside the pale on even-par, despite fighting back gamely from a stuttering start to post a one-under 69.

The Dubliner turned navel-gazing into an art form as he discarded the conventional putter he wielded on Thursday and took up once again with the controversial belly putter he's used since May.


After opening with a numbing brace of bogeys at 10 and 11, Harrington got himself back on track with an eagle three at 12. However, another dropped shot at 14 and making just two birdies on a decent ball-striking day, said little for his wedge play or performance on the putting greens.

Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, runner-up to Darren Clarke here in 2008, made a tidy three-under 67 to lead the Irish challenge with Damien McGrane in a tie for 11th on five-under.

Having underlined just how comfortable he feels at Kennemer with a 65 on Thursday, Kells man McGrane found birdies a little harder to come by yesterday, with just one at the par-three 17th balanced by a bogey at the short, but devilish eighth, his penultimate hole.

Shane Lowry began the day expressing dread on Twitter for Friday the 13th and finished with an horror three-putt bogey at 18 that soured the decent 68 which left him tied 28th on three-under.

Taking momentum from a stirring performance at last weekend's Walker Cup, Kevin Phelan matched Lowry's 68 to make the cut on the mark in his first professional event alongside Waterville's David Higgins (67), one behind Simon Thornton (68).

Meanwhile, Ireland finished third in the Women's Home International Championship in Fife after being held to a tie by defending champions England.

Wales took the title for only the fourth time after demolishing Scotland 7-2.

After the foursomes had been shared, Amy Farrell lost the 17th to Alex Peters to end Ireland's hopes and Lisa Maguire had to win the final hole against English champion Sarah-Jane Boyd to level the match.

KLM Open,

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