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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 27 March, 2019
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Harrington rolls back the years in Prague to sniff first victory in two years

The three-time Major winner produced some sensational golf as he carded seven birdies on Saturday afternoon.

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON PRODUCED some of his best golf of the year to storm into a share of the lead at the Czech Masters, the 46-year-old putting on a Saturday afternoon exhibition on his way to a seven-under par round of 65.

D+D REAL Czech Masters - Day Three Harrington goes into Sunday's final round in a tie for the lead. Source: Ross Kinnaird

Having lost his PGA Tour card last week, Harrington has rebounded impressively in Prague and rolled back the years during a superb third round to go into Sunday atop the leaderboard alongside Italian Andrea Pavan.

The three-time Major winner carded seven birdies during a near-faultless round to give himself a big chance of claiming a first victory on either tour since October 2016, when he won the Portugal Masters.

Starting the day two back, Harrington was in sensational form from the get-go as he picked up three shots before the turn, including a birdie two on the par-three seventh after a stitching one to within a couple of feet.

Harrington maintained the momentum into the back-nine and claimed a share of the lead with three more birdies during a vintage performance from the Dubliner.

He came within inches of claiming the outright lead on the 18th, his downhill birdie putt just slipping by the hole, but sitting on 17-under heading into the final round gives him a great chance of a 16th European Tour win.

Overall, Harrington made six birdies in a stunning nine-hole stretch from the sixth, taking just 31 strokes to move his birdie tally up to 18 for the week, but afterwards admitted it was a round you dream of producing on a Sunday afternoon.

“I kind of feel like it was a day too early, it took a lot out of me,” he told Sky Sports.

“I holed putts like you would want on a Sunday. It was one of those days that you hope you get on a Sunday afternoon, not a Saturday afternoon.

“You’ve got to go out there [on Sunday] expecting a rollercoaster. You’d love it not to be but you’ve got to prepare yourself to make mistakes, you’ll get good and bad breaks, you’ll miss and hole putts, you’ve got to prepare yourself for that. It’s too much to dream for it to be a nice, perfect day so we’ll just prepare ourselves for a bit of everything.”

D+D REAL Czech Masters - Day Three Harrington has had just one bogey this week. Source: Ross Kinnaird

When asked about his form and new-found power off the tee, Harrington added: “I always work on it. Sometimes I get criticised for it but clearly you’re not going to compete on this golf course if you’re not out there.

“You’ve got to get it out there for those par fives. It’s a big-hitters golf course. I’m 47 next week and I’m hitting it further than ever.”

Harrington and Pavan, who also carded a 65 today, hold a three-shot lead over the chasing pack, which is led by Gavin Green of Malaysia on 14-under par.

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson is a shot further behind while Belgian Thomas Pieters will need to produce something special on Sunday as he sits six shots off the pace.

Pieters, who is looking to press his claims for a Ryder Cup place, struggled to a 71 to slip down the leaderboard, alongside Eddie Pepperell — the only player in the field who can push himself into the European team’s automatic qualification spots with a win this week.

Full leaderboard available here >

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Ryan Bailey

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