Harrington just four off the lead


PORTUGAL MASTERS:DESPITE CARDING a double-bogey and two bogies in the front nine yesterday in the Algarve, Pádraig Harrington lies just four shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the Portugal Masters.

Eight birdies left the Dubliner on four under for the day and six under for the tournament at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course.

“It was all going nicely . . . but I’m a bit upset about making two three-putts at the end,” said Harrington, who fared best of the Irish, one ahead of Shane Lowry who shot a two-under-par 70.

Former US Open champion Michael Campbell made his second straight cut on the European Tour for the first time since July 2011 as the New Zealander found some form.

The 43-year-old, ranked 607th in the world having been as high as 13th at the start of 2006, fired a two-under-par 69 in testing conditions to record a five-under total of 137 that left him five strokes behind leader Ross Fisher of England.

Meanwhile, Paul McGinley admits his hopes of qualifying for the $8m Race to Dubai finale suffered a massive blow when he was forced to undergo minor back surgery yesterday. The 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy hopeful underwent “a small procedure” on the base of his spine at a Birmingham hospital that could mean an end to his 2012 campaign.

The problem forced McGinley to withdraw before the start of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura this week and at 81st in the Race to Dubai standings he knows his hopes of making the top-60 who qualify for next month’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai are fading fast.

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