Pádraig Harrington is targeting a top-three finish in the Irish Open after a final hole bogey scuppered his chances of qualifying for the US Open via yesterday’s 36-hole Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath.
The Dubliner opened with a level par 72 on the New Course in a battle for 11 places in the field at Chambers Bay in Washington next month.
But having raced to five under on the Old Course in the afternoon thanks to four back nine birdies in a row from the 13th, he ran up a costly five at the 479-yard 18th.
As a result, he posted a 68 and and ended up tied for 13th, one stroke outside a five-man play-off for the last four spots that saw South Africans Garth Mulroy, Thomas Aiken, Tjaart Van de Walt and Australia’s Marcus Fraser deny Welshman Oliver Farr.
Currently ranked 86th in the world, Harrington was forced to pull out of last week’s BMW PGA after just three holes with a left shoulder injury. That is clearly no longer a major issue and he now turns to his attention to getting a top-three finish in either this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open or the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis, the week before the US Open.
“I need 20, probably 25 world ranking points,” Harrington said of his bid to avoid missing the US Open for the second year in a row. “Clearly I want to be there… certainly with where my game is at and where it’s going, I will be disappointed if I’m not there.”
Frenchman Alexander Levy (66-67) topped the 11 qualifiers at Walton Heath by a stroke on 11 under par from India’s Shiv Kapur with England’s John Parry, Swede Alex Noren, Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, England’s Jason Palmer and Germany’s Marcel Siem also qualifying. There was disappointment for Dubliner Peter Lawrie (72-71) as he finished tied 29th on one under while Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin (70-74) was joint 41st on level par.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved