Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke hang in there in Florida

Irishmen were outside the projected cut but high scoring allowed them back in

 Pádraig Harrington still in contention in florida. Photograph: Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington still in contention in florida. Photograph: Getty Images

Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 23:14

Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke will tee off in the third round of the Valspar Championship in Florida on Saturday after the late play tonight contrived to keep them both in the competition.

Having finished early this afternoon on three over, the Irishmen were outside the projected cut of two over, but as the evening wore on they were gradually reeled back into the top 70 as more and more of the field dropped beneath them.

Despite finishing on the same halfway score, the pair had very different rounds. Harrington, who carded a 75 in the first round on Thursday, turned in 34 after birdies at one and seven. He was two under through 14 after a bogey at 13 was immediately cancelled out but at 16 he three-putted from 80 feet and then dropped another shot at the par three 17th.

The Dubliner showed admirable grit, however, to crucially birdie the last and give himself the chance. As it turned out, it was enough and 70 proved a good score on the day. His playing partner John Daly carded a 90.

Clarke led in the early stages of the first round on three under, but dropped back to level par by the end of Thursday’s first round.

Yesterday, he went backwards again. Starting on the back nine, he birdied the 12th, but before the turn he had bogeyed 17 and 18, and dropped further shots at the third and fifth as well.

In any case, both lie 10 shots off Robert Garrigus’s lead after the American coped best in the conditions and posted a five-under-par 66 that included six birdies.

His closest challenger is Kevin Na on four under, after the American shot a flawless 68 that ended with a timely birdie at the ninth.

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