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'Devastated' Harrington looks to Fota Island after missing first US Open since 1999

The Dubliner is hoping to resurrect his career by finding some momentum this summer.

Harrington launching his new clothing range for Dunnes Stores in Dublin yesterday.
Harrington launching his new clothing range for Dunnes Stores in Dublin yesterday.

FOR THE FIRST time in 15 years, Padraig Harrington will not be among the field when the first ball is driven at the US Open in a fortnight’s time.

The three-time major winner, currently ranked 214th in the world, contested the sectional qualifiers in Walton Heath on Monday but finished two-over after rounds of 75 and 71, with Offaly’s Shane Lowry claiming top spot.

It has been a tough time for the 42-year-old, who also missed out on the Masters last month — a competition he had competed in consistently since 2000 —  and you have to go back as far as August 2008 to find his last European or PGA Tour win.

Speaking at the launch of his new clothing range for Dunnes Stores yesterday, Harrington explained that he is gutted that he won’t be at Pinehurst.

“I am devastated about missing the US Open,” Harrington said. “I nearly won it two years ago. I needed a birdie to get into the play-off with a sand wedge in my hand on the last hole and if I hole it I win the tournament. That is how close it was.

“It is one of the events that I have had a lot of good runs in and it’s an event I really like. I think I would have liked going down to Pinehurst and I’m going to be gutted that I will miss out on it.

Two weeks ago, Harrington was just two shots off the lead after the third round at the Byron Nelson Championship but fell away on final day — eventually finishing shared for 16th on four-under.

While he believes he came up short due to “mental errors”, Harrington says the performance did give him confidence going into the summer.

I’ve got to concentrate on trying to play well and win tournaments. I’ve got majors in the summer and that’s what it’s all about. The key for me is will be trying to get great momentum going into those two majors.

“The way to that is to play well, I’ve got about four events before the Open. Certainly, I look forward to the Irish Open, the Scottish Open, Memphis I have played well on in the past, the French Open I find the course difficult but I have gone close there.

“Just like everyone else, I need that momentum going into those majors. So, a bit of momentum and I’ll be ready.”

Harrington window Harrington in the window of Dunnes Stores on South George's Street in Dublin.

Adare was the venue when Harrington won the Irish Open back in 2007 but he adds that he is excited about the prospect of its return to Cork for the first time in 14 years next month.

“I’m really looking forward to the Irish Open down in Fota Island. I think Fota is great place for it — it’s a great resort,mit lends itself to a great atmosphere for the event. I’m looking forward to a big week there.

Any win between now and the Open would be a big thing. Any time I’m in contention and any good performances would be a bonus.

“It is always harder at an Irish Open but the only thing is I have won one so I’m not under as much pressure as the other lads.”

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Ben Blake

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