Main man Pádraig Harrington back in the mix with a fine 67

Problem for Dubliner this season has been in putting four rounds together. He’s now half-way there

Pádraig Harrington: has given himself every opportunity to win Irish Open after yesterday’s second-round 67. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington: has given himself every opportunity to win Irish Open after yesterday’s second-round 67. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 01:00

The main man again, Pádraig Harrington – adopted by the large Cork galleries as one of their own – was too busy to soak in the applause which greeted his arrival near to the 18th green. He was busy. His approach shot had been pushed into the thick rough, under the giant scoreboard, and his mind tried to catch up with his eyes as he analysed how he would play the recovery shot.

If he had dared look behind him, the three-time Major champion would have seen his name as one of those in block letters on that leaderboard. “It was a pity about 18, I had to keep my head down and do my job rather than enjoy the applause coming into it,” admitted Harrington who, with typical application to the task, found the green. He didn’t get the birdie putt, but he did sign for a 67 for 136, six-under par, that has thrown him into the mix heading into the weekend. It is all a golfer can ask for!

Harrington hasn’t won a tournament of note for a long time. His US PGA triumph of 2008 – his third Major title in little over a year – counts as his last title on either the European Tour or the US Tour, while his last win on the Asian Tour came in the Johor Open of 2010. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2012 was a four-man field, a win but not one which counted on either of the main tours.

So, here he is. Again. Back in the frame. And, yes, Harrington will be nervous. As he explained: “I hope so, it wouldn’t be worth playing this game if you don’t get nervous. If I am not nervous on the 72nd hole, then I am in trouble. (It means) I am not winning this tournament.”

The problem for Harrington this season has been in putting four rounds together. He is half-way there. “I have been in decent form coming in here, I just haven’t been able to sustain it through a weekend. I like the fact that I have given myself another opportunity. The pressure will be on and, if I don’t deliver, I will be figuring something out that will help me going forward for the next couple of weeks so that I will be good and strong coming into the (British) Open.

“It’s all bout my mental approach and routine, which to be honest hasn’t been tested too hard over the last period of time.” Now, the test is a real one.

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