Sunday 17 December 2017

Harrington jettisons 'junk' to make cut

William S Callahan

Padraig Harrington had to move aside "some of the junk in my head" to compile a second-round 70 that ensured him of another valuable 36 holes bedding in his new swing this weekend at the Austrian Open.

Making the cut in a €1m event on the European Tour is a far cry from winning Major championships, but the Dubliner needs game time as he tries to re-groove his swing and halt his alarming slide down the world ladder.

When coupled with his slipshod first-round 75, yesterday's effort lifted Harrington into a tie for 47th place on one-over and, vitally, bought him added time in his bid to regain his competitive edge for next week's lucrative Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

Ireland's three-time Major champion has always found it difficult to regain focus after working on his game and a recent session in Rotherham with his new coach Pete Cowen gave him a lot of food for thought.

Agreeing it was difficult to bring a new swing to a golf tournament, he said: "I couldn't have been happier off the tee, but when it comes to playing finesse shots, there's a little too much junk in the head at the minute.

"If I was playing a Major this week, I'd like the head to be a lot quieter, but I'll put up with it for the minute," he added. "The pressure of having to perform today and make the cut helps clear my mind. It helps me to focus and maybe stop some of the (swing) thoughts I had out there today."

Harrington went on: "I had a few three-putts so it could have been better. I had a fair few chances and all my birdies were not far off tap-ins, so there was some good golf there."

After an impressive 68 yesterday, Kilkenny's Gary Murphy goes into the weekend in Austria in a tie for ninth place on four-under-par, just three off the lead shared by England's Robert Cole (65) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (70) and with high hopes of reigniting his flagging career on Tour.

Victory tomorrow would clinch Murphy his Tour card, while a top-10 finish will earn him another rare opportunity to tee it up with the big boys next week.

Walker Cup hero Paul Cutler's prospects of picking up a cheque on his professional debut expired as he missed the cut on seven-over after a second-round 74. Yet two of his GB&I team-mates at Royal Aberdeen last Sunday week, Tom Lewis and Andy Sullivan both made the weekend.

American John Daly failed to complete his second round after apparently walking off due to a row with officials. Daly carded a first-round 74 on Thursday and was four-over yesterday after a quadruple-bogey seven on 15th when he abandoned his round following a two-shot penalty over the placement of his ball after hitting into the water.

• Adam Scott shot a five-under 65 to take the early lead in the second round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta on eight-under. Scott carded eight birdies and three bogeys to lie one shots clear of KJ Choi, after the Korean added a second-round 65 to his opening 68.

Tour Championship,

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Irish Independent

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