Wednesday 19 September 2018

Harrington pushing for big few weeks

Harrington: Wants to be competitive. Photo: Sportsfile
Harrington: Wants to be competitive. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Pádraig Harrington insists he's in "a good place" as he bids to become the PGA Tour's latest golden oldie winner in the 50th anniversary AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas.

The Dubliner (46) will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Phil Mickelson - winner of the WGC-Mexico Championship at 47 earlier this season - alongside Seamus Power and Graeme McDowell.

But he won't be overtrying having seen past greats fall into that trap.

"I've seen guys get to the twilight of their career and they are out there trying too hard for no return," said Harrington, who is joined by seven of the top 50 - including Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman, Matt Kuchar, Satoshi Kodaira and Branden Grace.

"I don't want to be that old codger where the young guys are looking at me thinking, 'will he ever take it easy and take a step back?' I want to be competitive. I'm in a good place. Three years ago I couldn't keep that going."

Harrington might not be averse to backing himself, even if the US Supreme Court ruling striking down a federal law banning sports betting outside Nevada only arrived on Monday.

After playing well alongside Shane Lowry in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, he's looking forward to a big run of events with the BMW PGA, US Open qualifying and the Italian Open next on his schedule.

Harrington will, at least, have the consolation of older playing partners as he is joined by Ernie Els and Rod Pampling when he tees off at 6.30pm (Irish time) today in Dallas.

"1st round of @attbyronnelson with @TheBig_Easy and @RodPampling tomorrow. It's not often now that I'm the youngest in the group," tweeted Harrington.

There are no Irish players in the field at the Belgian Knockout - 36 holes of regular stroke play before 64 players progress to a weekend of nine-hole knockout matches, also with a stroke play format - meaning every match will go to the final hole.

On the PGA in Ireland circuit, Tulfarris Golf Resort's Simon Thornton opened with a four-under 68 to lead the 36-hole, Carr golf-sponsored PGA Irish Club Professional Tournament by one stroke from Clontarf's Eamonn Brady at Dromoland Castle. Title holder David Higgins (77) is tied for 27th.

  • AT&T Byron Nelson, Sky Sports 9.0

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport