Friday 20 July 2018

Harrington hoping weather will wreak havoc on weekend

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington walks off the second tee during day two of The Open Championship at St Andrews
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington walks off the second tee during day two of The Open Championship at St Andrews
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Pádraig Harrington could afford to rest and play after a long but satisfactory day's work to close on three-under par for the tournament on the Old Course at St Andrews.

He was beaming as he reflected how the bad early-morning weather gave him a lucky break.

Due to play at 7.38, his starting time was put back to 11.52, allowing him have a warm-up, then a snooze, get something to eat and then have another warm-up.

Best of all, he got his second round completed, scored 69, and could afford to sit back and enjoy a nice meal and seek out the latest 'Terminator' film to get his mind off the golf.

"We were on the range warming up when the storm came in. You know, I got up this morning at 5.0. I did my warm-up. I came out here.

"I had breakfast, had physio, did some more warm-up. I suppose that would have taken all the guts of an hour and a half.

"At no stage in that hour and a half did I think I was not going to tee off. This is the Open Championship.

"But unfortunately the town of St Andrews drained onto the first fairway, so they really couldn't go.

"We were happy about that. I snuck into one of the Tour vans and slept for an hour and a half or so. It was a nice break on our behalf.

"When we got playing, our front nine played straight downwind.

"When we're coming in the fourth hole there, I hit three-wood down to the end of the fairway, and the guys coming up are struggling to get out to the fairway. It was a good break for us today," he said.

The Dubliner started moderately with a bogey five on the second, but a birdie three on the par-4, 371-yard seventh hole lifted his spirits.

Further birdies came at 13, 14, and the 18th where he played a 58-yard pitch over the flagstick that was reminiscent of his famous 48-yarder at the 72nd hole in Carnoustie in 2007.

Unlike Carnoustie where he holed for a double-bogey, but one which got him into a play-off, Harrington slotted this one for a birdie three on the 18th at St Andrews.

With 36 holes for him to go, Harrington knows he will need some good fortune and plenty of good golf to get into contention on the back nine tomorrow.

"Anything that creates havoc will do me. I'm going be a long way behind at the end of the day, so the more havoc there is tomorrow the better for me," he said.

"It's not like I'm defending anything, and I'm not leading the tournament.

"If I was I'd like beautiful weather. You want everything possible to be thrown at us tomorrow."

The difference in Harrington's mood compared with Thursday was evident.

He never lets the head drop completely, but he was markedly happier with the 69 compared with his starting 72.

In the first round he felt he let good chances to score early birdies on the front nine slip by, and instead of getting to his target of two- or three-under, he was on level-par.


Yesterday early on it appeared he would be out of the frame as his first six holes went by with him one-over par for the round.

By the end, the outlook was much brighter.

"I actually felt I was better for these 36 holes. I've been working hard on different aspects of my game.

"Physically, it's pretty strong, and then just mentally I found myself in a better place this week.

"I haven't hit my wedges well, that's all. I kind of had a good attitude out on the golf course all week, so I'll hopefully take that into the weekend," he said.

Should he get into contention, would he take inspiration from his Honda Classic win on the PGA Tour or from the Open wins in 2007 and '08?

"If I got there on Sunday afternoon with nine holes to go...well, I've 27 holes to play first.

"If they go well, then the fact I've won in Birkdale, Carnoustie and this year in the Honda would be a big bonus. Coming from behind to win in Indonesia would be a help too."

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