It’s tough at the top as Harrington bows out of Irish Open

Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa

Maybe the bookies had it right all along in pricing Padraig Harrington long at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open?
The three-time major champion followed up an opening round 68 with a dispiriting 78 that saw him miss the cut at Ballyliffin GC.
Pre-tournament, Padraig had questioned his odds but the Pat Ruddy designed links in Co Donegal bit back in the sun yesterday.
Out in three over par 38, the 46-year-old lost a ball at the 13th resulting in a double bogey seven and then proceeded to drop another shot at the par three 14th.
He rallied with back to back birdies at the 16th and 17th but he hit a bad drive on the 18th, failed with an ambitious second and then three-putted after finding the green with his third.
“Early on I hit a couple of bad shots and with the three putts, you’re starting to struggle,” said Harrington.
“I had a feeling I could get back into it on the back nine, and obviously I had a few opportunities to make birdie.
“Losing the ball on 13, you know, you’re standing on the tee thinking that maybe you can get to three under par and you’re four shots behind the leader. All of a sudden, you’re struggling around the cut line. It’s obviously disappointing.”
Harrington wasn’t the only player with putting issues. For the second day in succession, Rory McIlroy struggled to get the ball in the hole and compounded matters by dropping shots at the 17th and 18th.
A second round 73 (+1) added to his opening round 70 left the tournament host on one under par and eight shots off the lead held by Kiwi Ryan Fox, France’s Matthieu Pavon and South African Eric Van Rooyen.
“I kept saying all week, it is a matter of putting your ball in play off the tee and if you can do that, you can score and you have control of your golf ball from the fairway,” said Rory.

“When you don’t hit fairways, it’s tough to hit the greens. It’s tough to get it anywhere close to the holes.

“Those last two bogeys were bad tee shots and I was out of position from there. The rest of the round was okay. I felt like I drove the ball well for the most part, hit my irons pretty good. I missed a couple of shots on the wrong side which cost me but yeah, it’s just another one of those days where I couldn’t quite get it going.
“I didn’t hole anything, really, again. Holed a nice one for birdie on six but that was really it. I finished out okay. I’m going to have to hit it closer and hole a few over the weekend if I want to have a chance.
“I’m glad I’m around for the weekend. It’s a tournament I’ve always wanted to play well at. It’s not nice missing, especially as tournament host. At least I get to play another couple of days and hopefully play my way up the leaderboard.”
In the past, Rory has shown a remarkable ability to fire low rounds at the weekend. Back in March, he carded rounds of 67/64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitation. It seems unlikely that those types of scores are available this week in Co. Donegal.
The Glashedy Links is baked out by days of hot sun and all the competitors have struggled to get the ball close to the hole a fact that wasn’t lost on Graeme McDowell. The 2010 US Open champ dug in to card a one over par 73 that saw him make the cut on level par.

“I certainly got this golf course wrong,” said Graeme.
“I was scratching my head why no one has shot a low score. It doesn’t get any easier from a links golf point of view, the conditions we had today especially.
“It speaks volumes about how tricky this golf course is. I underestimated it from a trickiness point of view. It is very hard to get the ball in play off the tee.
“There is a lot of threading off the tee because the bunkers are in play and greens, it’s tough to get close to and hole putts.
“The greens are perfect and yet no one can seem to make a putt out there. The greens are tough to read. It’s a really good test of golf and like I say, I slightly underestimated it.”
The cut fell at one over par with 76 players making it through to the weekend. Amongst the star names to miss out were Ryder Cup players Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

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