He shot a second round of 68 for a total of six under par, one off the pace being set by Mark Wilson and Tiger Woods.
However, he would be tied for the lead had he not driven out of bounds at the 18th last night when tied for the lead, the latest in a series of serious errors that have bedevilled him in recent and most especially when running up a quintuple bogey eight at the par three 8th in the US PGA Championship last month.
Harrington played himself into 7th place on the FedEx order of merit by finishing 2nd in the Barclays Championship in New Jersey and 4th last week in the Deutsche Championship in Boston. He was looking really good yesterday when birdies at the 15th , where he reached the par five green in two, and the 17th where he sank a nine footer after a beautifully played 2nd , put him into a share of the lead at seven under with American Mark Wilson.
However, Padraig’s tendency to get himself into trouble came to the fore once again on the 18th when he drove way to the right and wound up in the television compound and out of bounds. His ability to extricate himself from a tight corner, however, was rarely better demonstrated when he sank a twenty footer for a remarkable bogey five that leaves him in the thick of the battle going into the week-end. Meanwhile, Paul McGinley’s renewed enthusiasm for the game was tested after he bogeyed the final hole on the second day of the Mercedes-Benz championship in Cologne.
McGinley walked off the Gut Larcenhof course bitterly disappointed in carding a 68 for a four under par tally that left the 42-year old trailing five strokes behind the leading duo of Australia’s Scott Strange (68) and England’s talented Chris Wood (69).
Strange was among a number of players who, under new Tour rules, then had to undergo a drugs test after their rounds.
McGinley had earlier recorded seven birdies to move to five under par in coming to the 18th, where he sent his drive into deep rough.
He managed to exact the ball with an eight-iron but his shot landed short and to the right of the green from where he chipped but only to see the ball run 20 feet past the flag, from where McGinley two-putted.
“I am very disappointed with the 18th and I just got my feel all wrong with my third as I had a similar chip on the front nine and that really bit and chipping into the wind at 18, I didn’t want the same thing to happen,” said McGinley.
“I’m disappointed with myself because I also missed a birdie chance at 17 from eight feet, as well.”
McGinley had arrived in Cologne buoyed by a super showing last week in Switzerland.
He had spent four days working with coach, Bob Torrance and the results were obvious, with McGinley being in contention right up until the last day.
“When I play well, then the scores happen,” he said.
“But after missing the cut at Gleneagles, I spent four days up in Largs with Bob and June (Torrance) and I have played really well since then.
“I started slow at the start of the year so I have a lot of ground to make up. I am very far down the Order of Merit (117th position) so I have got to really rush to make the Race to Dubai final.
“So I am certainly racing to Dubai and that’s for sure.
“But I am still so ambitious and I still have so much to achieve in this game, and I feel my game is very strong that I can compete.
“Technically, I lost my way a little bit but after four days up in Largs with Bob I got a lot of feeling back in my swing that I like and it was great to cement that with four good rounds last week.”
Also at four under par is Darren Clarke who was spotted hurling his sand wedge after his greenside bunker shot at the ninth flew the green and into another sand trap.
However the Dungannon ace was all smiles when he holed his next for par en route to a 70.
Graeme McDowell carded a 72 to remain at two under par while Damien McGrane also had a 72 to stay at level par.
Reigning Irish Open champion Shane Lowry, also with a 72, is at three over par while Gareth Maybin carded a 73 for a five over par score and Michael Hoey had two double bogeys in a 77 to fall back to nine over par.