Pádraig Harrington is one under par. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s one under for 69 competitive strokeplay rounds this season. He’s also down 23 places in the world this year to 82nd and in danger of missing the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time following a three over 73 in the opening round of the Wyndham Championship.
Not for the first time this season, Harrington’s putting let him down badly at Sedgefield County Club in Greensboro where he missed seven putts inside six feet on fast, undulating greens to end the day four shots outside the projected cut mark and nine strokes behind co-leaders Chris Stroud and Ross Fisher in a share of 139th place.
Needing an estimated Top-30 finish at worst to sneak into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings - he believes a Top-25 will be enough to qualify for The Barclays at Liberty National next week - Harrington was projected to fall five places to 134th following his first round.
If he fails to find his putting touch today, his US season will almost certainly come to a premature end and he will look to Europe and beyond for crucial world ranking and Ryder Cup qualifying points.
As a two-time winner of The Open, Harrington is exempt into the world’s oldest major until he is 60 (2031) at the very least and the US PGA for the rest of his life, should he wish to play.
He’s not exempt for next year’s Masters or US Open, which makes a return to the world’s Top-50 imperative for the former world No 3.
Winning a seventh Ryder Cup cap next year is huge goal and Harrington has already entered the first qualifying event, the ISPS Handa Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort from August 29 – September 1.