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Harrington's old demons return as five shot lead disappears at the Irish Open

All is not lost, however as the wind and rain arrives at Royal County Down.

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON SURRENDERED the lead at the Irish Open as he dropped six shots during a back nine which has threatened to unravel all his hard work.

Harrington carded a four-under-par round of 67 on Thursday to hold a share of the lead alongside German Maximilian Kieffer but the three-time Major winner has dropped back into the chasing pack with Scotland’s Richie Ramsey assuming the baton.

Conditions did, however, deteriorate as the morning went on at Royal County Down and although he found himself at seven-under-par at one stage, Harrington was content with a clubhouse lead of two-under.

“I’m happy with where my game is at the moment,” he said afterwards.

It could have been a whole lot better for the Dubliner but for a nightmare stretch after the turn. Having carded two birdies on the front nine, Harrington had created daylight between himself and Kieffer but the iconic links course began to fight back.

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A first dropped shot of the day at the 11th was followed by a double-bogey on the next and a further bogey on the par three 13th.

He showed all his tenacity with a birdie on 16, which was greeted by huge cheers by the large galleries, but then finished with consecutive bogeys to card a 73.

Shane Lowry, meanwhile, had a round to forget as he is in danger of missing the cut. The 2009 Irish Open champion carded three birdies on Friday a broken putter meant he had to putt with his wedge.

Golf - Dubai Duty Free Irish Open - Day Two - Royal County Down Golf Club PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

In the end, he recorded a 74 to leave him four-over and just above the projected cut line.

Rory McIlroy tees-off alongside Rickie Fowler and Martin Kaymer at 1pm. The world number one needs to embark on a birdie blitz if he is to have any hope of making the weekend after yesterday’s nightmare nine-over-par opening round.

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