There was no need for complicated mental gynmastics, no need for any mind-bending theorising. Padraig Harrington shot a six under par 65 in the second round of the Omega European Masters at Crans Sur Sierre and said: “I played very nicely, especially towards the end.”
When it was suggested in an interview that the difference between his opening 70 and his second round 65 was that he got a few breaks, Harrington resisted the temptation to overcomplicate things.
“I’ve played better today,” he said of a round that ended with him chipping in for his eighth birdie of the day after getting a free drop from the grandstand that prevented his thinned approach from a fairway bunker from flying out of bounds.
“I was average yesterday. I played well today. I hit a lot of balls close for the majority of the round. It was a good round of golf today.”
At seven under par, the 42-year old Dubliner is not streaking clear of the field or even leading. He’s not even in the Top-10.
With no more than five shots separating the top 23 on the leaderboard, he’s three adrift of co-leaders Thomas Bjorn (66) and Stephen Gallacher (65) in a share of 13th.
Still, it was his lowest round on European soil since he shot an eight under 64 in the Alfred Dunhill Links nearly two years ago. Given his run of five missed cuts from the last six and his plummeting world ranking, he needed yesterday’s round like manna from heaven.
Two bogeys and eight birdies. No wonder he sounded pleased. Even the bogey on the 16th didn’t bother him too much after a round that saw him convert far more chances.
“Hit a lovely shot on 16 and really had no chance of getting up and down and on 18, it is never nice coming out of a bunker over water. You don’t want to hit it fat and I hit it thin. It was a bonus that I hit it straight at the flag because I got to drop it in the drop zone, which was a good 40 or 50 yards closer than my ball.
“If there had been no grandstand I would have been out of bounds for sure. It got a lovely drop, 20 feet from the hole, made the most of it and chipped it in.”
Still, it helps to have some good luck occasionally, he admitted.
“I got a nice break on 14, the par five, I hit it left and it caught the trees coming down and kicked forward into the bunker.
“If it stayed in the trees I am probably making six and I ended up making four. Those breaks are big. You will always find places where you think you are getting bad break but you do get a good break as well.
“You just have to accept that you just have to make birdies. You have got to hit some shots close and sometimes you will find yourself in a difficult spot and you just have to accept it.
“Like my tee shot in 16. I hit a lovely tee shot and I was surprised it came up short. Genuinely, you would make more fives than threes from that bunker so it was a nasty place to be and that’s part of the golf course. When you are out of position you can be in a really difficult place.”
Just three of the seven Irish entrants made the cut with Harrington the best of them, tied for 13th on seven under.
Gareth Maybin (69) is tied 30th on three under with Michael Hoey a shot further back after making two doubles and an eagle in a one over 73.
Simon Thornton (71 71) missed by one, Darren Clarke (69-74) by two. Pals Damien McGrane (73 71) on two over and Peter Lawrie (72-75) on five over, also missed the cut.