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The Irish in America: Different strokes for Rory, Pádraig, Darren and Graeme

The Green Jacket evaded the clutches of the Blarney Boomers but there were Top-10 finishes for Harrington and McDowell

The trio of Harrington, McDowell and McIlroy after the 2010 Ryder Cup win
The trio of Harrington, McDowell and McIlroy after the 2010 Ryder Cup win
Image: Alastair Grant/AP/Press Association Images

NORTHERN IRELAND’S GRAEME McDowell remarked before the start of Masters play last Thursday that Irish golf fans have gotten restless as it has been eight months since a golfer from the Emerald Isle won a Major.

Supporters here will now have to wait another two months, until the U.S Open in June, to cheer on the likes of McDowell, Clarke, Harrington and McIlroy.

Slow out the gate and the mean final day greens

McDowell was hoping to win a second Major after his steely display to capture the U.S Open in 2010. He was never really in the mix, however, and will rue his opening round 75, which contained four bogeys and a double at four.

He told Philip Reid of The Irish Times that the four day’s play taught him to be more patient with his game. He added:

“It took me a couple of days to get into my groove, into my rhythm, on this golf course. I felt so negative on Thursday, especially around the greens. I didn’t trust my chipping of the ball. I didn’t trust my bunker play. I worked very hard on that this weekend, to be honest with you, and my comfort level increased as the days went on.”

It was a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ for Pádraig Harrington on the opening two days as the American broadcasters chose to follow golfers such as Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner.

The Dubliner played his way into contention, and onto our television screens, after a sterling finish of five birdies in six closing holes in the third round. His short game was as good as any other’s on Sunday but he missed several 10-12ft birdie putts to eventually finish eighth. He commented:

“I’ve won three majors, but that’s the most comfortable I’ve felt through 18 holes in the last round of a major and I was in a nice place mentally all day.”

The not-so-nearly men

As World Number 2, Rory McIlroy went into the weekend poised for another close run at securing his first Green Jacket from Augusta National.

The Hollywood golfer had a torrid time on the first hole, recording a +5 score over the four rounds, and fell out of contention after posting a 77 on Saturday. He said:

“I played pretty well over the first couple days and then just came out on Saturday and really just didn’t have it that front nine and that sort of killed me for the rest of the tournament. It was just one of those things.”

Darren Clarke, winner of the British Open last July, had two birdies over 36 holes but it was his Friday round of 81 that scuttled his challenge. The Dungannon golfer was the last Masters contestant to arrive at Augusta as he needed treatment on an injured groin.

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