French flair evades Harrington

IT WAS a long, anxious afternoon wait for Pádraig Harrington, along with his two elder brothers, before confirmation the triple Major winner had done enough to play all four rounds of the Vivendi Cup at Chambourcy.

It also allowed Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie breathe a sigh of relief after earlier in the week losing rookie Peter Hanson from the French event due to illness.

However there was hardly any joy for Harrington on day two of the €1.25m event at the Golf de Joyevnal course.

Harrington trails 11 strokes behind the leading duo of England’s John Parry (67) and Sweden’s Jarmo Sandelin (66) who lead the field by three strokes.

Some five three-putts in 36 holes from Harrington is hardly the inspiration you’re looking for heading to a Ryder Cup. As well, there was driving out-of-bounds on the reachable par four 12th but then also finding a stream running in front of the green in looking to find the green at a second attempt.

Harrington’s resultant triple bogey, along with a double bogey when he three-putted the par-four fifth hole stand out like sore thumbs on a score card that also shows five birdies, including three over his closing six holes that assured his place over the weekend.

That’s good news also for brothers Fergal and Tadhg, as Tadhg, who is the older of the three Harringtons, had been caddying for Fergal, and with the amateur side of the event decided, it was the intention of each to remain over the weekend to support their younger brother.

Harrington initially sandwiched a three-putt double-bogey at the fifth in between birdies at three and four.

But after dropping another shot at 10, he then drove out-of-bounds left into trees in trying to find the green at the short 299-yard, par four 12th. After adding the penalty, Harrington swapped the driver for a 3-wood but this time found a small stream running across the fairway. He took a second penalty before his fifth shot, a wedge, landed well behind the hole from where he chipped to 20-feet and missed the putt.

“I made two terrible errors to make a double-bogey and a triple-bogey and you can’t afford that when scoring is good as you have to be making birdies,” he said. “I made enough birdies but you also have to keep those mistakes off the card. They did a lot of damage.”

He added that his attitude remains the same in spite of the Ryder Cup looming large: “You’re always just thinking and analysing your own game. Okay, I would see my putting is not as sharp as I would like it to be and I’m thinking, ‘that needs focus for next week’ so that’s what I’m going to concentrate on now.

“But you come to these events looking to analyse your game. I would get that analysis on the range after missing the cut.”

Then in a strange twist Harrington admitted it would not concern him had he missed a third halfway cut in as many European Tour money-counting events.

“At the end of the day, if I sit the weekend off, that’s fine,” he said. “I’ve got enough out of the two days but I also hope I’m not sitting out the two days.”

Paul McGinley, like Harrington also stopped what could have been three missed cuts in succession in Europe, with a 73 for a three-under par tally. “Once again there were too many bogeys but at least I am here for the weekend,” he said.


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