Saturday 20 January 2018

Harrington's battle with bogeyman continues

Bernie McGuire at Chambourcy

What a difference a day makes -- as Padraig Harrington can testify after just saving himself the embarrassment of missing the weekend rounds of the Vivendi Cup yesterday.

While the rolling French countryside course was alive with the sound of birdie putts dropping on day one, the sounds of day two, if you followed Harrington, were mainly gasps as his ball refused to drop.

There was also the sound of his golf ball clattering into trees and then, a short time later, a splash when Harrington found water when seeking to drive the short par-four 12th.

It proved to be an anxious afternoon wait for Harrington, who eventually carded a 74 to make the cut right on the two-under-par cut-off mark, but a distant 11 strokes behind the leading duo of England's John Parry (67) and Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin (66).

Four players -- South Africa's George Coetzee (66), Australia's Richard Green (66), England's James Morrison (68) and French rookie Julien Guerrier (69) -- are in second place, three behind at 10-under-par.

Harrington ended his round at 2.30 local time, but it wasn't until five hours later that the cut-off mark of two-under-par assured him of two additional, much-needed competitive rounds before the Ryder Cup.

The story of Harrington's day on the Retz course at Golf de Joyvenal was not the five birdies, but the double bogey on the par-four fifth and the triple-bogey at the 273-metre par-four 12th hole.

Harrington sandwiched a three-putt for his double at the fifth in between birdies at three and four, while at the 12th, he indicated he was in between clubs when he first chose driver, but hooked the ball left out of bounds and into trees.

After adding the penalty, Harrington went with a three-wood, but this time found a small stream running across the fairway. He took a second penalty before his fifth shot, a wedge, landed well behind the hole from where he chipped to 20-feet and missed the putt.

"I made two terrible errors to make a double-bogey and a triple-bogey and you can't afford that when scoring is good, as you have to be making birdies," he said. "I made enough birdies, but you have to keep those off the card. They did a lot of damage."

With the Ryder Cup now six days away, Harrington says he's still in the same frame of mind as if he were in Houston playing the week before the Masters or in Ohio competing the week prior to the US PGA.

"It's all the same. It doesn't matter that next week is the Ryder Cup, as you're always just thinking and analysing your own game when you're out there," he said.


"But you come to these events looking to analyse your game. I wouldn't get that analysis on the range after missing the cut."

With Paul Casey challenging for honours at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the pressure is mounting on the Dubliner to justify his wild-card selection ahead of the world No 7.

Told about Casey's opening 66 on Thursday Harrington said: "I genuinely hope he wins it. I'm certainly not going to wish he plays bad golf. That's not going to make me play better.

"I'm looking forward to the Ryder Cup and that's all I can focus on -- not whether Paul Casey or Justin Rose should have got a pick."

Paul McGinley, like Harrington also stopped what could have been three missed cuts in succession in Europe, with a 73 for a three-under-par tally.

Gary Murphy joined McGinley on the three-under mark with scores of 69 and 72, while Peter Lawrie, with a 70 for level par, and Simon Thornton, a 69 for a one-over, both missed the cut.

The Vivendi Cup,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 12.0

Irish Independent

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