Pádraig Harrington continues to confound. After putting brilliantly to open with two 66s in the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and then using the belly putter to turn a big score into a 72 on Saturday, the 41-year old crashed to the joint second worst round to par in his 18-year professional career last night.
His 10 over par 80 was the worst score of the final day by two strokes, relegating him to joint second last place in the field behind 44-year old Ken Duke, who birdied the second extra hole to beat Chris Stroud to become the oldest first time winner since 1975 in his 187th start.
Harrington warned on Friday that he wasn’t doing cartwheels over the state of his game and could not keep on holing big putts forever.
How right he was. Having holed more than 350-feet of putts in the first three rounds, he went into the final round with an outside chance of his first PGA Tour win for nearly five years, four strokes behind Canada’s Graham DeLaet, Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson.
Those hopes were dashed after just three holes when he opened with three bogeys and eventually dropped seven more shots with another five bogeys and a double bogey seven at the par-five 13th.
He had 34 putts, three-putting twice and missed four putts of five feet or less in a round that saw him hit just three greens and three fairways in an outward 41.
He steadied the ship relatively speaking on the homeward nine but fluffed a bunker shot to bogey the 12th and then followed a drive into water at the 13th with an other water ball on his approach to the green en route to a seven at the 13th.
After missing the 16th green, he missed another five footer for par before two-putting the last two holes for his second round of 80 on the PGA Tour this season following his opening eight over par effort in his first outing with the belly putter in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow last month.
Pádraig Harrington’s highest rounds on tour
- 19/05/1996 84 +12 Rd 2 Benson and Hedges International Open
- 23/06/2013 80 +10 Rd 4 Travelers Championship
- 17/06/2007 80 +10 Rd 2 US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
- 31/08/1996 81 +9 Rd 2 One 2 One British Masters
- 30/01/2000 80 +8 Rd 1 Heineken Classic
- 09/10/2005 80 +8 Rd 3 WGC - American Express Championship
- 08/05/2005 80 +8 Rd 4 Wachovia Championship
- 05/05/2013 80 +8 Rd 1 Wells Fargo Championship
Quite apart from the blow to his confidence ahead of this week’s Irish Open, Harrington’s Sunday collapse does little to enhance his chances of returning to the world’s top 50 in the short term.
Down two places to 67th in the world, he is still ineligible for August’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitatational and 104th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Harrington must be in the top 125 to qualify for the first play-off event, the Barclays at Liberty National from August 22. However, he is likely to play just two more counting events before that - the Open at Muirfield and the US PGA at Oak Hill.