Saturday 25 November 2017

Padraig Harrington in the hunt to end eight-year wait for European Tour win

Padraig Harrington acknowledges the crowd
Padraig Harrington acknowledges the crowd

Padraig Harrington will head into the final day of the Portugal Masters just one shot off the lead as he goes in search of his first European Tour win in eight years.

The Irishman's last European Tour victory came in 2008 as he claimed his third major at the US PGA Championship but he was within touching distance of ending that drought after a third-round 67 in Vilamoura.

Harrington had led at the turn after making four birdies on the front nine but he came home in level par as Denmark's Anders Hansen and Finn Mikko Korhonen both moved past him to get to 18 under.

"I'm happy with that," he told Sky Sports 4. "When I got it through ten holes as I did, if I pushed on a couple it would take a lot of people out of contention tomorrow.

"There's plenty of guys now that feel they can shoot a low one in there - eight, nine, 10 under par as we've seen. I've got to play well tomorrow. A lot of work to be done."

Hansen announced his retirement at the 2015 Portugal Masters and was playing just his fifth event of the season but the 46 year old showed no signs of rust, making nine birdies on his way to a blemish-free 62.

"I'm very, very happy with my life," he said. "I'm very happy where I am and there is no re-think about starting playing golf again, I'm very happy the way it is.

"It probably helps a little bit because it doesn't really matter to me either way, it is what it is. I'm not going to come back and play full-time, that decision has been made so I'm just enjoying playing."

Korhonen recorded eight birdies and a bogey in his 64 and is finding form at just the right time, needing to gain five places in the Race to Dubai rankings to make the top 111 and keep his card for next season.

Defending champion Andy Sullivan and fellow Englishman Chris Paisley were then at 16 under alongside Scot Paul Lawrie, with another Scotsman, Marc Warren, a further shot back.

England's Callum Shinkwin and Scotland's Stephen Gallacher were then in the group four shots off the lead.

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