Friday 20 September 2019

Harrington thrives on Hamburg fear factor

Pádraig Harrington plays out of a bunker on the third hole in Hamburg. Photo: Getty Images
Pádraig Harrington plays out of a bunker on the third hole in Hamburg. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Pádraig Harrington used his famous fear factor as motivation in an attempt to keep leader Paul Casey in his sights at the Porsche European Open in Hamburg.

Europe's Ryder Cup skipper has missed five of six cuts since the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and nine of 14 this year after suffering a fractured wrist last December.

But while he admitted he was "daunted" by the prospect of taking on the 7,544-yard Green Eagle Golf Course, he overcame wind and rain to get himself up for battle and card a one-under 71 to share 13th place.

"It's an absolute beast of a course," said Harrington, who was just five shots behind leader Casey after posting one of just 22 sub-par rounds.

"They've moved tees up, the greens are soft and the pin positions are reasonable, but it just intimidates the hell out of you.

"I didn't know what was going to happen today. The unpredictability of it was different. I was bouncing going to the first tee."

The veteran was the best of the Irish on a tough day that saw Ireland's leading Challenge Tour star Cormac Sharvin shoot 73 and share 37th as departing Michael Hoey and Gavin Moynihan battled to 74s and joint 47th.

Casey, who said earlier in the week that he was pleased Rory McIlroy had declared for Ireland in next year's Olympics as it improves his chances of playing in Japan, fired a brilliant 66 to lead by one stroke from Austria's Matthias Schwab.

But it was a tougher day for the Americans in testing conditions as world No 9 Xander Schauffele shot 73 and Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar a pair of 74s.

Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup skipper Craig Watson is hoping for similar conditions at Hoylake this weekend to keep the Americans in check.

And Mallow's James Sugrue reckons his Cork supporters could prove another plus for the home side.

"Fifty people are coming over from Ireland his week," the Amateur champion said. "It should be a fairly noisy weekend here. Everyone at my club, they're very good giving me support, helping me throughout junior golf and everything."

Progress

At the First Stage of the European Tour Q-School, Shannon's Danny Brennan shot 69 to share third on seven-under in his bid to make the top 17 and ties who progress today.

Tyler Hogarty's one-under 68 left him joint seventh with Tim Rice just a shot outside the qualifying places on two-under after a 68.

In France, Stephen Grant and Paul McBride chiselled out two-over 72 to lie six shots behind leader Robert Dinwiddie at the Challenge Tour's Open de Bretagne.

Robin Dawson shot 74 and Gary Hurley a 78 but there was better news from the European Senior Men's and Ladies' Amateur Team Championships as Ireland made today's semi-finals.

In the women's event at BlackSeaRama Resort in Bulgaria, Portumna's Suzanne Corcoran got up and down from a bunker at the 18th to win the decisive singles one-up and give Ireland a 3-2 win over the Netherlands.

Valerie Hassett's team now face England as Sweden take on Spain while Michael Coote's senior men will meet hosts Denmark in the last four following their 4-1 win over Germany at Rungsted Golf Klub.

Meanwhile, Sport Ireland yesterday announced details of its €3 million Women in Sport Policy.

Golf will receive €200,000 to part-fund the new Level Par programme, designed by the ILGU and CGI to help clubs maximise the inclusion of women and girls in golf clubs.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport