Gritty Harrington makes hay while the sun shone in SC

8/11/2012 11:30:02 PM
Padraig Harrington  (Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington (Getty Images)

For Padraig Harrington, it was a case of making hay while the sun shone as the Irishman grinded his way into contention at the US PGA Championship before storms hit Kiawah Island.

Following rounds of 70 and 76 over the first two days in South Carolina, Harrington, playing in far more benign conditions than had been seen during a windswept second round, took advantage of the slightly easier front nine midway through Saturday.

Birdies at the par five second and short third gave Harrington’s third round a fast start as further birdies at the sixth and seventh holes helped him reach the turn in 32 and propelled the 40 year old up the leaderboard on the morning of Moving Day.

And despite carding a double bogey at the tenth the three-time Major Champion fought back, chipping in from a greenside bunker for birdie at the short 17th, to sign for a three under par 69 that left him tied for 11th just five shots behind the leaders before play was halted as an enormous electrical storm cell descended on the US barrier island.

“It was a good round overall,” said a satisfied Harrington. “There were some highs, and made a very bad double bogey on 10, but I got it going right on the last couple holes.
 
“I finished it off solid, that kind of makes up for it.  I think through 16 holes I felt like I'd left a number of shots out there but to hole a bunker shot on 17 and then to get up and down from 35 yards on the last I've got to be comfortable; that's the score I sort of deserved today.”

Harrington, who won his third and last Major Championship in this event when it was staged at Oakland Hills, Michigan, in 2008, just about completed his third round before the suspension, but was ambiguous in his assessment of whether it would help or hurt his chances of lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for a second time tomorrow.

“It could be a good break, but it could be a bad break, as well,” he said. “We'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
 
“I would have settled for the guys to play the same conditions we played in and have them play the back nine in the wind because the back nine was a lot tougher than the front nine and there's not too many to make too much headway on the front nine.

“It depends on the leaders and this weather could change everything so who knows what's going to happen now.  But if say four under par is in the last couple of groups for the final round it means my score of one under still has a chance tomorrow.”