WHILE Padraig Harrington set off early today in pursuit of the top-seven finish he needs at the Hong Kong Open to extend his season by a precious week, fellow Irishmen Damien McGrane and Gareth Maybin were intent on making their livelihoods safe for 2012.
The struggling Dubliner is coming to the end of his worst season as a pro, but could change the complexion of his entire year if he rediscovers top form over the next 10 days.
The three-time Major champion needs to win €62,000 if he is to climb seven places into the top 60 in the Race to Dubai on Sunday and make the field for next week's Dubai World Championship.
Harrington's fellow Dub, Peter Lawrie, is right on the Dubai World Championship threshold at No 60 in the money list, but at least neither player has to worry about their cards for next year.
While McGrane looks relatively safe in 114th place on the money list and needs only to make the cut in Hong Kong to copper-fasten his playing credentials for 2012, Maybin (currently 120th) must finish in the top 25 this week to avoid a return to Q-School.
Several of Maybin's fellow strugglers in the 'danger zone', notably Markus Brier (115th), Philip Price (116th) and Mart Tullo (117th), failed to get into the final event of the regular season.
This makes the sponsor's invitation to John Daly to take his place in this week's field all the more galling -- Daly disgraced himself and was fined by the Australian PGA after his controversial exit during the Australian Open. This week's Hong Kong Open is his ninth appearance of 2012 on the European Tour.
Hong Kong Open,
Live, sky Sports 1, 5.0am
Live, Sky Sports 1, 9.0am
Chevron World Challenge,
Live, Sky Sports 2, 8.0pm