Friday 15 December 2017

Harrington woes continue as McIlroy just makes the cut

Padraig Harrington scored a disappointing six-over par 78 at Quail Hollow
Padraig Harrington scored a disappointing six-over par 78 at Quail Hollow

William S Callahan

The nightmare continued for Padraig Harrington at Quail Hollow.

An error-strewn six-over 78 consigned the struggling Irishman to his seventh weekend off in 11 tournaments this year and his 15th missed cut in 30 events dating back to the 2013 Masters.

Harrington wasn't the only multiple Major Champion to struggle in the Wells Fargo second round – Rory McIlroy (76) and Phil Mickelson (75) came back down to earth with a thud after opening impressively on Thursday.

Okay, Mickelson and McIlroy (just) made the cut but any encouragement the Ulsterman took from his first round 69 evaporated quickly.

His putting, a problem at Augusta, had been deft in the first round but McIlroy set an unhappy tone yesterday with a three-stab from 12 feet for bogey four at two, followed immediately by stunning back-to-back double-bogey sixes.

McIlroy's tendency to lose the occasional long shot way left landed him in deep trouble on both occasions – off the tee at three and from mid-fairway at four.

A birdie at five was followed by another bogey four at six; a sweet pitch to inches for birdie three at eight and a dreary par at nine after McIlroy's breath-taking 336 yards drive into mid-fairway.

Perilously close to the cut mark after completing the front nine in 40 strokes, McIlroy appeared to buy insurance with a facile birdie at 14 but, after a 370 yards screamer down 16, he made an infuriating bogey, missing a four foot putt for par.

Even entering the weekend on one-over, 10 shots off the lead of Andrew Flores (68) and Angel Cabrera (68), McIlroy won't despair of giving himself a special 25th birthday present tomorrow.

He crept through the cut at Quail Hollow in 2010 but won with staggering weekend rounds of 66 and 62 ... Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge equalled McIlroy's course record yesterday, a whopping 18-shot improvement on his opening 80.

Mickelson was one-shy of the lead on Thursday night after an inspired performance with his putter during a first round 67 that seemed the perfect riposte to his shocking missed cut at The Masters .

However, there was cellophane over the cups for Lefty yesterday as took 34 putts (including one three-putt), seven more than the day before.

Is there any end to Harrington's downward spiral? Three-under through 16 holes this week, the Dubliner played his next 20 in eight-over, sadly taking-up yesterday where he'd left off with Thursday's double-bogey, bogey finish.

Ineligible for next week's prestigious Players Championship at Sawgrass, maybe a change of continent will help – Harrington's next tournament is Europe's showpiece BMW PGA in three weeks, though Wentworth hardly is his favourite course.

Darren Clarke also missed the cut after shooting xx to add to his first round 76

Hallelujah! Peter Lawrie yesterday broke a harrowing run of 11 straight missed cuts on the European Tour this season by following-up Thursday's 68 with a gutsy 72 to make the weekend on the mark, four-under, in the Championship at Laguna International.

Sweet second round 67's by Gareth Maybin and Simon Thornton left them looking forward to this weekend in Singapore, Maybin tied 34th on six-under and Thornton one shot back.

Damien McGrane missed the cut for the third straight week in Asia after a second round 73. Thai Panuphol Pittayarat, 21, led by one after adding a 68 to Thursday's 63.

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