Harrington and Caldwell in the hunt at St Andrews

European Ryder Cup captain sits three shots off the lead after second round of 69

Pádraig Harrington on the 16th green during Day Two of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Photo: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington on the 16th green during Day Two of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Photo: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

 

European Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington shot a second round of 69 at the Scottish Championship to trail leaders Matt Wallace and Adrian Otaegui by three shots heading into the weekend.

At the Fairmont course in St Andrews, Harrington followed his opening round of 66 with another sub-70 round to reach nine under par in the more favourable morning conditions. One shot further back is Bangor native Jonathan Caldwell who signed for a round of 66 on Friday.

After starting with five consecutive pars, Harrington rolled in his first birdies of the day at the sixth and seventh before a bogey at the 10th set him back a little. However, another birdie at the 15th and a closing birdie at the 18th saw him sign for a round of 69 and remain well in the hunt for a first win since the 2016 Portugal Masters.

Caldwell, who has enjoyed some good form in this rescheduled European Tour season, birdied the third but gave it straight back at the fourth.

However, the 36-year-old then reeled off three birdies in four holes to turn in three under par before picking up further shots at the 11th, 14th and 15th.

Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin both finished at one over par to miss the cut after rounds of 71 and 73 respectively.

“I think today I didn’t play as well as yesterday,” Harrington – who finished in a tie for ninth at the Scottish Open two weeks ago – told Sky Sports after his round. “I hit the ball really well off the tee yesterday and I’m putting really well at the moment so yeah my expectations were high today and, you know yourself, you have high expectations you just get a little bit tight in yourself.

“I didn’t play as well today but three under is a nice return, hopefully it won’t be too far off the lead.”

So much of the talk around golf at the moment is about distance as Bryson DeChambeau continues to push the realms of technology and brute strength and, with many players now looking to add that bit of extra power, Harrington is no different.

The 49-year-old averaged 295 yards off the tee last season and has added to that this year as he focuses on adding more speed to his swing – something he says he works on every day.

“I want to be competitive at the top level so I’ve kind of been obsessed with trying to keep up with these young guys,” said Harrington.

“I have a lot more speed on the range than necessarily on the golf course but I see days where it’s good and I certainly … my whole career I’ve been one level down from the longest hitters and I’m still there now. I wouldn’t hit it as far as the longest hitters, if it was a long drive competition I probably could but not on the golf course.

“I’m hitting it straight and a decent distance and I think I’ve gained 2.9 shots off the tee which is unheard of for me.”

The three-time Major winner will go into the weekend three behind Wallace – who played with Harrington over the first two days – and Otaegui who followed his scintillating opening round of 62 with a 70.

The Spaniard picked up five birdies in his second round but dropped shots on the second, 11th and 17th while Wallace made three birdies on the way out and three on the way in with just one dropped shot on the 13th.

Collated second round scores & totals in the European Tour Scottish Championship, Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews (British unless stated, par 72):

132 Matt Wallace 65 67, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 62 70

133 Aaron Rai 66 67

134 Adrien Saddier (Fra) 67 67

135 Paul Waring 68 67, Garrick Porteous 66 69, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 66 69

136 Marc Warren 67 69, Jonathan Caldwell (NIrl) 70 66, Sean Crocker (USA) 70 66

137 Kristoffer Reitan (Nor) 73 64, Dave Coupland 68 69, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 67 70, Bryce Easton (Rsa) 65 72, Matthew Southgate 69 68, Chris Paisley 66 71, Lee Westwood 67 70

138 Craig Howie 70 68, Marcus Armitage 70 68, S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 69 69, Adrian Meronk (Pol) 68 70, Ashun Wu (Chn) 67 71, Eddie Pepperell 68 70, Martin Simonsen (Den) 69 69, Daniel Gavins 70 68

139 Justin Harding (Rsa) 75 64, Matthew Jordan 71 68, Ewan Ferguson 67 72, Gregory Havret (Fra) 69 70

140 David Law 73 67, Damien Perrier (Fra) 70 70, Oliver Wilson 72 68, Philip Eriksson (Swe) 73 67, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 67 73, Wil Besseling (Ned) 71 69, Ben Stow 70 70, David Drysdale 69 71, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 72 68, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 70 70, Jamie Donaldson 70 70, Connor Syme 70 70, Justin Walters (Rsa) 71 69, Oliver Farr 73 67

141 Ben Evans 69 72, Darius Van Driel (Ned) 72 69, Alexander Levy (Fra) 70 71, James Morrison 72 69, Renato Paratore (Ita) 68 73

142 Zach Murray (Aus) 69 73, Joel Stalter (Fra) 70 72, Richie Ramsay 74 68, Lorenzo Scalise (Ita) 71 71, Benjamin Poke (Den) 71 71, Matthew Baldwin 70 72, Hurly Long (Ger) 69 73, Ashley Chesters 72 70, Scott Jamieson 67 75, Lars Van Meijel (Ned) 72 70, Calum Hill 70 72, Ricardo Santos (Por) 71 71, Robin Petersson (Swe) 71 71

143 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 71 72, Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 72 71, Jens Fahrbring (Swe) 72 71, Sam Horsfield 74 69, Daniel Young 72 71, Tom Gandy (IOM) 70 73, Steven Tiley 69 74, Marcel Schneider (Ger) 73 70

The following players missed the cut:

144 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 75 69, David Dixon 77 67, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 73 71, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 72 72

145 Gavin Moynihan (Irl) 72 73, Cormac Sharvin (NIrl) 74 71, Liam Johnston 73 72, Stephen Gallacher 71 74, Jack Senior 76 69, Aaron Cockerill (Can) 75 70

146 Jake McLeod (Aus) 74 72, Toby Tree 74 72, David Howell 73 73, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 75 71, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 73 73, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 76 70

147 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 75 72, Romain Wattel (Fra) 75 72, Dale Whitnell 75 72

148 Janne Kaske (Fin) 78 70, Michael Campbell (Nzl) 77 71, Ross Cameron 76 72, Grant Forrest 76 72, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 74 74

149 Chris Wood 73 76, Oscar Lengden (Swe) 75 74, Nicolai Hojgaard (Den) 77 72

150 Euan Walker 74 76, Mathieu Fenasse (Fra) 78 72, Ross McGowan 74 76

151 Jordan Wrisdale 79 72, Clement Sordet (Fra) 77 74, Daan Huizing (Ned) 76 75

154 Scott Hend (Aus) 75 79

160 Lee Slattery 82 78

W/D Niall Kearney (Irl)

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