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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 4 March 2021

'I always go into Carnoustie with a bit of trepidation' - Padraig Harrington relishing return to 'The Beast'

The Dubliner shot an opening round three under par at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship yesterday.

Padraig Harrington (file photo).
Padraig Harrington (file photo).
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

PADRAIG HARRINGTON WAS relieved to be back out on course yesterday at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and says time away from playing left a feeling of trepidation as he headed back onto some of Europe’s toughest courses.

The Dubliner took on the role of Ryder Cup vice captain last week as Europe overcame the US at Le Golf National in Paris.

Timing of his break might have felt slightly inopportune following back-to-back top five finishes at the Czech Masters and the KLM Open and a missed the cut at the Portugal Masters. 

Speaking after yesterday’s opening round at Kingsbarns Golf Links, Harrington said he felt unsure as to where his game might be after the short hiatus.

“I had 11 days off the golf course,” he told The European Tour after his round. “I started hitting shots on Monday, so a couple of days hitting shots and my first round was on Wednesday.

“Hitting a golf shot to hitting one on the golf course, it’s completely different.

“I thought I would never be ready for today but there you go. A little bit of focus. I suppose, being in competition, it sharpens you a little bit.

Surprisingly, I was really good mentally today, which I thought I was going to struggle, but yeah, happily surprised.”

42nd Ryder Cup - Preview Day Three - Le Golf National European vice captain Padraig Harrington (centre) alongside fellow vice captain Lee West (left) and Tyrell Hatton. Source: David Davies

Harrington carded five birdies and just two bogeys in blustery conditions in Scotland, but insisted the wind was more than manageable for the type of game he was aiming to play.

“It’s actually the easiest in crosswinds. If you’ve got a wind direct in up-and-down the golf course, it does get difficult but in a crosswind you can still reach the par fives, so there’s plenty of opportunities.

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“The targets are bigger here, and the greens are bigger.

“The width of the fairways are much, much bigger on a lot of holes. This for me is way easier.

“As long as there’s cross-wind here, you’re happy you can still shoot a decent score.”

The 47-year-old returns to the course today at Carnoustie, the site of this year’s Open Championship and the location of his first major win back in 2007.

“I have good history there and it’s nice for me to go back, but Carnoustie is a tough golf course.

“I for one always go into Carnoustie with a bit of trepidation. Just because I’ve won there, doesn’t mean I’m going to breeze around there tomorrow.

“It certainly gets my attention.”

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