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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 9 May 2021

Lahinch bites back as Harrington falls off the Irish Open lead

The overnight leader struggled in tough conditions at Lahinch, eventually signing for a second-round 73.

Updated Jul 5th 2019, 1:29 PM

THE LAHINCH LINKS, it seems, is biting back. After yesterday’s near-faultless, stress-free, round of 63, Pádraig Harrington didn’t have it as easy on Friday morning as he dropped back down the leaderboard.

The overnight leader on seven-under-par, Harrington carded four bogeys before the turn to surrender his two-shot advantage, before steadying the ship on the home stretch to sign for a three-over 73. 

Padraig Harrington on the 3rd green Harrington endured a tough start. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Given his start, it could have been a whole lot worse for the Dubliner on the County Clare links, but a closing birdie on 18 meant he was able to salvage a shot back to remain tentatively in contention heading into the weekend.

With Thursday’s bright sunshine making way for early rain on Friday, bogeys on one, three, five and seven represented a disastrous start for Harrington, who less than 24 hours earlier had produced a links golf masterclass. 

As the weather turned, the European Ryder Cup captain struggled on the front nine and although he dropped another shot on 14, Harrington carded birdies on 13 and 18 to sit four shots off the current lead held by England’s Eddie Pepperell. 

“It really was tough conditions,” Harrington said. “Three of my bogeys were poor chips from the side of the green. I need to be a lot sharper with my short game.

“You have to stick in there. I was a little bit better on the back nine but conditions improved a lot, it was very tough early on. The leaders are obviously going well and the afternoon players might get a little bit of an advantage with the conditions.

“Maybe I have another 63 in me over the weekend. I can see the faults and failings [in my game]. My swing is a little shorter and tighter on a tight golf course but that’s more mental than physical.”

Padraig Harrington hits his aproach shot into the 3rd green The rain arrived on Friday. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Pepperell was three-under for the day and holds the outright advantage atop the leaderboard from a three-man group on seven-under, including fellow Englishman Lee Westwood. 

Spaniard Jorge Campillo carded an excellent 64 on Friday to surge up the leaderboard, while Mexican Abraham Ancer is also just one shot off Pepperell after his second round. 

Northern Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin has put himself in an excellent position heading into the weekend after backing up Thursday’s 66 with a second-round 69 to move up to a tie for seventh on five-under. 

Andy Sullivan, Wade Ormsby, Martin Kaymer and Shane Lowry are among those on four-under alongside Harrington, with the latter’s second round just up and running. 

Paul Dunne [level] has moved inside the cut line after finding birdies on 13 and 17 but faces an anxious wait to see if he’ll make the weekend, while there is work to do for Seamus Power [level], Darren Clarke [+1], Graeme McDowell [+2] and Gavin Moynihan [+2] if they are to hang around for rounds three and four. 

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Ryan Bailey

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