Pádraig Harrington cards 68 to trail Ricky Barnes by four
Closing bogey costly but Dubliner remains in contention in San Antonio
Pádraig Harrington in action at the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Pádraig Harrington slipped up with a closing bogey on the par-five 18th but a four-under 68 moved the three-time Major winner to seven under and a share sixth place behind leader Ricky Barnes after the third round of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
Barnes carded a five-under 67 to move to 11 under, one shot clear of fellow American Brendan Steele, while England’s Luke Donald and American Charley Hoffman on nine under.
Patrick Reed, who was born in San Antonio, is alone on eight under before a six-strong group that includes Harrington on seven under.
Harrington would have been alongside Reed on eight under if he had made par or better on the closing hole, but a couple of poor shots close to the green on the final hole proved costly.
Harrington’s wedges had helped him earlier in the day, with a lovely chip-in birdie from the fringe of the green at the 10th.
His front nine of two-under 34 included birdies on the both the par-fives and another gain on the sixth.
After his chip-in on 10, he dropped a shot at the 11th but a great approach at 12 led to another birdie.
Three straight pars slowed his charge before his his seven-iron tee-shot to the par-three 16th went close to the hole before he sank the birdie from under five feet.
His tee-shot on the 347-yard short par-four 17th finished just short of the green thanks to a friendly bounce and another delicious chip left him a tap-in birdie.
Barnes was also left to rue a dropped shot on the 18th which prevented him holding an even greater advantage.
Barnes, seeking a first PGA Tour win, also made bogey at the ninth along with seven birdies – including the par-four 12th where he sank a 29-foot putt.
His bogey on the 18th, the result of a poor drive from near a cactus, might have been worse but Barnes was happy with his day’s work
“I took advantage of my good shots, converted my birdies and then obviously had a bad finish, a bad swing, to end it, but actually hit a good putt there,” he said on the PGA Tour website.
“If you’d told me five under today I’d have taken it.”
Barnes’s late bogey kept Steele, leader after each of the first two rounds, firmly in touch even though the 2011 champion had to settle for a round of 72, dropping shots on the second and 12th holes before rescuing par with birdies on the 14th and 18th.
Donald dropped a shot on the fifth but immediately got it back on the sixth, the first of five birdies in his round of 68 as he moved up 10 spots on the leaderboard to keep himself in the frame.
“It was a little bit of a slow start, but coming in with five birdies and no dropped shots, I felt pretty much in control. A pretty solid round,” Donald said.
“It sure feels good to be back in contention again and having chances to win. That’s why we work hard to get in these positions . . .
“I’ve been looking for that one good tournament to get under my belt and get some confidence. I feel like my game has been good this year but I’ve not been getting much out of it. It’s nice to see things turning around a little bit.”
Hoffman went round in 70, making the turn at two-under before a topsy-turvy back nine that featured bogeys on the 12th and 17th, bookending birdies on the 14th and 16th.
Scott Langley, who had been in the mix after the first two rounds, endured a poor day as he piled up four bogeys in a round of 73 which sent him down into a tie for 12th.