Friday, 19 March 2010
Barclays Singapore Open - Previews  (Getty Images)
Barclays Singapore Open - Previews (Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington is looking to return to winning ways at the Barclays Singapore Open as the Irishman aims for an ambitious target of victory in his next three events to remain in the hunt for The Race to Dubai.

Harrington was happy to write off the first six months of this season to work on his game and has recently reaped the rewards with seven top ten finishes in his last eight events after The Open Championship.

He won the Irish PGA Championship prior to finishing 65th at Turnberry, but you have look back to August 2008 for his last top level success, although that was the US PGA Championship which followed hot on the heels of his second Open Championship win at Royal Birkdale.

“I have had two halves to my season. The first six months performance-wise wasn't very good. I was doing a lot of work on my game. I have now played well over the last three months but haven't got a win. It's nice to be playing well, but it's getting frustrating not to win,” said the World Number Six.
“A win is going to happen, but it gets harder when you try to push it and force it. I have got myself in positions, but now I need to just let it happen. I am anxious to win, but that's not helping, I need to take it easier on myself. There is nothing I can do any different. If I keep doing the things I have for the last couple of weeks, I will surely get a win.”

Despite finishing third at the Portugal Masters, the 38 year old slipped out of the lucrative top 15 on the inaugural Race to Dubai and sits 16th.

But with winner’s cheques totalling over €2,000,000 to play for over his next three events in Singapore, Shanghai and ultimately Dubai, he has not given up all hope of overhauling a gap of over €1,000,000 to current leader Lee Westwood, who is playing at this week's Volvo World Match Play in Spain.

“It's mathematically possible I can make number one. I would need a big run and that means I would have to win two of my last three events and finish very high up in the other, so if I am going to aim for that I may as well try and win all three. It is possible but it's a very long shot,” added the 2006 European Tour Order of Merit winner.

Last year in Singapore, Harrington was in contention for the title down the stretch, but missed out by a stroke after hitting into the water on the 16th which led to a double bogey before missing a five foot birdie putt at the last which would have earned a play-off.

And after playing in the pro-am Harrington admits the Serapog Course offers a much tougher challenge this year.

“It would be nice to go one better than last year. I came very close but it wasn't to be. I had forgotten hitting the water at 16, all I remember is three putting the last. It's a slightly different course this year, but hopefully I will be there or there abouts on Sunday,” said Harrington.

“My game has been in good shape. I have been struggling a bit with my posture and I am fighting a bit of a cut so hopefully that won't be there.”

Ernie Els, twice a runner-up in this event, added: “The course is in very good shape. The rough is going to be very tough - a lot tougher than last year, it is very thick. If the ball goes in there it sits down - if you are in the rough, you have a problem.

“The greenkeeping staff have been cutting and shaping the fairways very nicely. There has been a phenomenal change in the course since I first came here in 2006.  It is a different golf course. You have some spectacular holes with the harbour coming into play - some very good holes out there. It is a good championship golf course.”

KJ Choi leads the Asian Tour challenge at the co-sanctioned event. After winning last week’s Iskandar Johor Open, the Korean star concurred that low scoring was going to be challenging this week.

“Every hole is difficult,” he said. “To me, they may seem a little easy but I actually see a lot of obstacles like hidden traps that you need to be aware off. So tee shots will be important.”

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