Irish Open 2019: Padraig Harrington suffers tough day in Lahinch but stays in contention with late birdie
Padraig Harrington found the going tough on the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to card a 73, 10 shots worse than his opening round 63 in Lahinch.
Harrington quickly surrendered his overnight lead when the £5.5million Dubai Duty Free Irish Open resumed in overcast conditions.
An opening 63, his lowest round in 24 consecutive appearances in the tournament, had given Harrington a one-shot lead over South Africa's Zander Lombard at Lahinch.
However, the three-time major winner bogeyed the first and third holes of his second round to slip back to five under par and into a tie for second with England's Eddie Pepperell and Scotland's Robert MacIntyre.
Harrington's struggles continued with further bogeys on the fifth and seventh as he covered the front nine in 38, eight more shots than he required for the same stretch on Thursday.
The only good news for the Ryder Cup captain was that he remained within three shots of the lead shared by Pepperell and Mexico's Abraham Ancer, with MacIntyre setting the early clubhouse target on five under after a 69.
Pepperell is making his first start after a seven-week lay-off due to a back injury but was showing few signs of rust as he birdied the 11th and holed from off the green on the 12th for an eagle.
At nine under par he enjoyed a three-shot lead over Ancer, Jorge Campillo and Lee Westwood, who had carded a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh and picked up another shot on the 13th.
Harrington had finally registered his first birdie of the day on the 13th, only to promptly give the shot back on the next to lie six shots off the pace.
He lost that shot with as bogey on 14 before a birdie four on the last to add a 73 to his opening 63 in an unhappy reminder of 12 months ago, when he followed a first-round 68 at Ballyliffin with a 78.
“It really was tough conditions. Three of my bogeys were poor chips from the side of the green. I need to be a lot sharper with my short game," Harrington said.
"You have to stick in there and I was a little better on the back nine so hopefully I have not done too much damage, Four under par is still in it.
“Maybe I have another 63 in me over the weekend. I can see the faults and failings. My swing is a little shorter and tighter on a tight golf course but that’s more mental than physical.”
Pepperell was unable to birdie the 18th but a second round of 67 gave him the clubhouse lead on eight under par, a shot ahead of Campillo, Ancer and Westwood.
"I'm very happy with that, it was a good score in the conditions which were horrible for the first six or seven holes and caught everyone by surprise," Pepperell said.
"I'm not hitting the ball perfectly but the short game is feeling good and my back feels better so it's good not to be out there worried about it."