Thursday 19 July 2018

Houston problems cost Harrington dearly as Masters qualification push fails to take off

Henrik Stenson of Sweden lines up a putt on the 12th green at the Houston Open (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson of Sweden lines up a putt on the 12th green at the Houston Open (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

William S Callahan

Padraig Harrington's hopes of qualifying for next week's US Masters were ended last night after he missed the cut at the Shell Houston Open.

The Dubliner needed to win the tournament to qualify but that seemed unlikely after a one-over par opening round left him nine shots adrift of overnight leader Charley Hoffman.

Harrington started with three pars in yesterday's round, however a triple bogey 8 on the fourth ended his chances in what has been a free-scoring tournament.

Trying to reach the green with his second shot, Harrington could only find the water and he compounded his mistake after his penalty drop when, once again, his ball found the water. Two putts later, and his tournament was effectively over.

A further bogey on six and a double on eight left him turning with 42 shots and facing the prospect of a round in the 80s.

There was some fighting spirit from the three-time Major winner, however, when he birdied the 10th, before giving the shot back with a bogey on the next hole. He repeated the trick on 15 and 17 for an even-par back nine and a second-round 78 to leave him on seven-over par for the tournament with just three players worse off than him in the 142-man field.

Shane Lowry, too, will have the weekend off after he followed up his even-par opening round with a one-over 73 to comfortably miss the projected cut of two-under par.

Hoffman's two-under par round of 70 maintained his lead on 10-under par, one shot clear of compatriot Jamie Lovemark.

Reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth looked to be in good touch in his opening-round 67, however, a frustrating one-over round yesterday left him six shots adrift of Hoffman's lead.

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