Saturday 17 February 2018

'I want everything thrown at us this weekend' - Padraig Harrington hoping for more storms

Ireland's Padraig Harrington reacts to his tee shot on the 17th hole during day two of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews
Ireland's Padraig Harrington reacts to his tee shot on the 17th hole during day two of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews

Andy Hampson

Padraig Harrington felt he got extra lucky with Friday's downpour at the Open Championship - as he gave himself the chance of a third Claret Jug and grabbed some extra sleep.

The two-time Open champion was due to tee off at 7.38am in his second round at St Andrews but high winds and a heavy deluge led to a suspension in play of more than three hours.

When play did resume, Harrington took advantage of the improved conditions to shoot four birdies in a round of 69 that lifted him to three under par overall.

He was still some way off the lead but Harrington felt he gave himself a chance he might not have had had he played in the worst of the weather. And after getting up at 5am to prepare, the break in play also gave him the chance to go back to bed.

Asked about the torrential rain that flooded parts of the course, the Irishman said: "I was standing in it when it was happening - we were on the range warming up when the storm came in.

"At no stage did I not think I was going to tee off - this is the Open Championship.

"Considering the weather we played in in 2002 at Muirfield we were going to go play, but unfortunately the town of St Andrews drains on to the first fairway, so we really couldn't go.

"We were happy about that. I snuck into one of the tour vans and slept for an hour and a half or so.

"It was a nice break on our behalf, and then when we got playing, our front nine played straight downwind. It was a good break for us."

Harrington won the Open at Carnoustie in 2007 and at Birkdale the following year but, after also claiming the US PGA Championship in 2008, did not taste victory on a major world tour again until claiming the Honda Classic in March.

That relatively recent success gives Harrington hope that he can put himself into the picture this weekend, although he accepts he may need another helping hand from the weather.

The 43-year-old said: "I've won two of them already, so it's not going to be life-changing or anything like that, but it would be nice to get into contention coming down the stretch and perform.

"We'll see what happens but, no matter what, I'm going to need a big weekend. I'm way behind. If I was leading the tournament I'd want beautiful conditions but I want everything thrown at us to give me chance to catch up."

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