Pádraig Harrington takes share of the lead after brilliant 65 in Prague

Dubliner hoping he has something left in the tank after stunning third round

Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington plays his second shot on the par-four eighth hole during the third round of the  Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort  in Prague, Czech Republic. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington plays his second shot on the par-four eighth hole during the third round of the Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, Czech Republic. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

Pádraig Harrington is hoping he hasn’t peaked too soon after carding a brilliant seven-under 65 to take a share of the lead going into the final round of the Czech Masters in Prague on Sunday.

The Dubliner was two shots off the lead going into the final round before reeling off seven birdies at the Albatross Golf Resort to share top spot alongside playing partner Andrea Pavan, the tall 29-year-old Italian also carding seven birdies in his 65.

The pair are now three shots clear of the field on 17 under, with overnight leader Gavin Green from Malaysia back on 14 under after carding a 70.

Harrington is chasing a first European Tour victory since the 2016 Portugal Masters and is hoping that his Saturday efforts haven’t emptied the tank.

“It took a lot out of me, a lot of focus and I holed the putts like you’d want to hole them on a Sunday,” Harrington told Sky Sports after his round.

“I’m hoping there’s still another round in it but it was certainly one of those days that you try to get on a Sunday afternoon rather than a Saturday afternoon.”

Pavan has four Challenge Tour wins to his name, the last coming in 2013, and Harrington is preparing for all eventualities .

“I suppose you’ve got to go out there expecting a roller-coaster, you’d love it not to be, but that’s what you’ve got and prepare yourself for, that you’re going to make some mistakes, mentally you’re going to get good and bad breaks, you’re going to hole some putts, miss some putts. You know, you’ve just got to prepare yourself for that. It’s too much to dream of it being a nice perfect day so we’ll just prepare ourselves for a bit of everything.”

Harrington has been averaging well over 300 yards off the tee on the long 7,500-yard course and admitted that he has no choice but to keep working on his distance off the tee as he gets older.

“I always work on it, I think sometimes I get criticised for working on it but clearly you’re not going to compete on this golf course if you’re not going to hit it out there.

“Everybody up on the leaderboard , certainly going in today, were some big hitters. You’ve just got to get it out there for those par fives. If you’re not getting them somewhat in range on the par-fours; shorter clubs, they become difficult.

“If you can get a drive out over 300 yards in the air on 15 it’s only a pitching wedge after that, or sand wedge. It is a big hitters’ golf course and that’s one of the reasons I work on hitting it far . . . I don’t want to be disadvantaged and turn up at a golf course where I feel like I can’t compete. You know, I’m 47 next week and I’m hitting it further than ever.”

With the field adrift, Harrington is looking to turn the final round into a duel by the time they get to the back nine on Sunday.

Asked what he

“I’m seeing we’re three ahead of the pack, so hopefully myself and Pavan, we kind of move ahead, get out there and both have good front nines and have it as a duel between us over the last nine. That would be the nice scenario but as I said, it very rarely ever is the nice scenario on a Sunday.”

THIRD-ROUND LEADERBOARD

(Britain and Ireland Irl unless stated, par 72):

199 Andrea Pavan (Ita) 65 69 65, Pádraig Harrington 66 68 65

202 Gavin Green (Mal) 64 68 70

203 Scott Jamieson 67 68 68

204 Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 69 67 68, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 65 69 70, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 66 71 67

205 Eddie Pepperell 66 71 68, Alexander Knappe (Ger) 67 69 69, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 64 70 71, Lee Slattery 65 72 68

206 Tom Lewis 69 66 71, Callum Tarren 64 72 70, Soomin Lee (Kor) 66 69 71, Scott Vincent (Zim) 67 71 68

207 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 68 72 67, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 69 70 68, JC Ritchie (Rsa) 70 70 67, Aaron Rai 67 68 72, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 70 68 69, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 69 69, Adam Bland (Aus) 71 68 68, Jordan Smith 70 69 68, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 65 73 69

208 Matt Wallace 70 65 73, Jeff Winther (Den) 65 68 75, Connor Syme 66 70 72, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 71 66 71, David Lipsky (USA) 69 69 70, Callum Shinkwin 67 73 68, Hunter Stewart (USA) 69 70 69, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 69 70 69

209 Pontus Widegren (Swe) 71 69 69, Matthew Nixon 68 70 71, Sebastian Heisele (Ger) 72 67 70, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 71 69 69, Danny Willett 68 70 71, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 71 67 71, Peter Hanson (Swe) 66 69 74, John Daly (USA) 64 75 70, Peter Karmis (Rsa) 69 71 69, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 68 71 70, Justin Walters (Rsa) 71 69 69, Austin Connelly (Can) 69 70 70, Danthai Boonma (Tha) 70 69 70

210 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 71 68 71, Rak hyun Cho (Kor) 70 70 70, Jamie Donaldson 68 68 74, Bradley Neil 68 69 73, Lee Westwood 66 72 72, James Morrison 70 69 71

211 Richard Bland 69 71 71, Chase Koepka (USA) 67 69 75, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 69 71 71, Stephen Gallacher 69 70 72, Matthew Baldwin 70 68 73, Nick Cullen (Aus) 68 70 73, Renato Paratore (Ita) 67 72 72

212 David Howell 69 71 72, Ryan Evans 67 73 72, Pep Angles (Esp) 67 73 72, Johan Edfors (Swe) 70 69 73

213 Jin-ho Choi (Kor) 69 70 74, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 69 73

214 Chris Hanson 72 67 75, Jonathan Thomson 68 70 76

215 Charlie Ford 70 70 75, Ashley Chesters 68 72 75

216 Paul Peterson (USA) 70 69 77

218 Sebastien Gros (Fra) 70 70 78

219 Scott Hend (Aus) 71 69 79

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