Padraig Harrington (Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington hopes to draw on the inspiration of Royal Portrush’s sell-out crowd as he battles for victory in The Irish Open.
The three-time Major winner, whose last European Tour victory was the 2008 US PGA Championship, goes into the final round two behind Jamie Donaldson in a share of third place.
The other four players in the top five have just two European Tour titles between them – fewer than the number of Majors Harrington has to his name.
But while home advantage, experience and the backing of packed galleries may make Harrington a slight favourite, the 40 year old is taking nothing for granted.
“I would be very determined anyway,” said Harrington, who won this event in 2007. “You've got to use the home crowd in your favour.
“You've got to let them carry you when you need to be carried and don't get carried away by them. Obviously don't allow yourself to be let down in any way in terms of, if you feel like you're letting them down, you have to fight that urge. It has to be managed, but definitely can be a big positive.
“In a perfect world, you would say that there's a home winner, but this isn't an exhibition, I can guarantee you that. There's nobody going out there tomorrow thinking, oh, we'll let the Irish guy win. It doesn't work like that.
“The downside of a hometown crowd, is that if you don't finish the job off, you feel disappointed; you feel like you've let people down
“The upside is you're getting carried along by them. If somebody’s out in front, you can get some momentum and certainly, I would say it's only a positive in terms of trying to win a tournament, having the home crowd, no doubt about it.
“So would I give it a percentage? I don't know. It's certainly 20 per cent, 25 per cent help on your performance. It's significant.”