Harrington rediscovers touch on greens

 

Golf:He’s back! You know the guy, multi-major winner, tall, athletic; works out in the gym a lot. Pádraig Harrington revitalised his quest for another major title with an impressive level-par 70 that put him onto the “fringes” of contention heading into the final 36-holes of the 112th US Open at the Olympic Club.

None more so, than Harrington. Although the Dubliner acknowledged after his round – which left him on 144, four-over-par – that he would need to be more “aggressive,” particularly with short irons in his hand, over the weekend.

“I would like 70 every day out there,” admitted Harrington, whose round sprung to life with a birdie on the driveable par four, seventh. There, the ball seemed to linger on the lip of the tin cup for an eternity before it fell in. And, then, he hit a five-iron tee-shot on the par thee, eighth hole which rolled up to two feet.

In all, Harrington had four birdies to go with four bogeys in his second round. Critically, he avoided any disastrous double-bogeys (he had two of them in the first round) and, generally, there was a sense of well-being with him after his round as he contemplated getting into the thick of a major at the business end of the championship.

Unlike Thursday’s first round when he had a nightmare with the putter in his hand, Harrington was much more in control of the blade in the second round to get into a position – five off the lead – to chase the co-leaders.

“I’m going to have to come back somewhat. You’ve got to think level par is going to have a great chance of winning this tournament. I don’t see four-over getting the job done. So I’ve got to take on a few more shots, just relax a little bit and not worry about dropping a shot and hope that I make more birdies than bogeys,” he said.

Of the quartet of Irish players, Harrington (four over for tied-18th) and 2010 champion Graeme McDowell (one over for tied-fourth) were the only ones to survive the cut, which fell at 148, eight-over-par. Rory McIlroy failed to make the cut in defence of his title, shooting a 73 for 150, while Peter Lawrie finished on the 151 mark.

And while Harrington hinted at a more aggressive game-plan for the final two rounds, Woods was more inclined to play a cautious game. As he put it, “You have to stay patient, got to stay in the present, and you’re just playing for a lot of pars. This is not a tournament where we have to make a bunch of birdies. (You’ve) Just got to just hang in there with a bunch of pars.”

He added: It’s (about) being patient, that’s something we have to do in major championships and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that over the years. I won my fair share and I understand how to do it. Now it’s one thing to game plan but you also have to execute the game plan.”

Woods, who missed the US Open last year due to injury, has won twice on tour this season – in the Bay Hill Invitational in March and the Memorial tournament in his last outing, two weeks ago – and heads into the weekend with the chance to add to his 14 major titles.