Harrinton back in the mix at Masters

Padraig Harrington scorched back into contention for the Masters after brilliant second round 68 and roared: What a difference a day makes.

Just 24 hours after a shattering 77, the Dubliner reeled of reeled off seven birdies, one bogey and a double bogey in a best of the week 68 to move into the top ten on one over par.

Tiger Woods struggled to a two over par 74 that left him on three over par and five behind clubhouse leader Brett Wetterich.

But Harrington came out all guns blazing to reiginite his hopes of becoming the first Irishman to win a green jacket.

The Dubliner was facing a possible early exit after a triple bogey eight at the 15th cost him a first round 77.

But after taking just 22 putt he was delighted to get back into the mix.

He beamed: "I think the course is certainly a challenge and every last shot takes a lot of attention. It is playing exactly how you would want the golf course to play.

"But the golf course always gives you a chance to shoot a good score. There are four par fives that can be reached and a great surface on the greens for putting so you can make birdies out there.

"With the course playing fast now for two days in a row, there are possibilities of making birdies if you can keep your momentum going.

"If you play very well if feel you can shoot a good score out there. If you hit a good shot you can make eagle but if you hit a bad shot there are double bogeys all over the place.

"I just messed up a lot of simple little shots around the greens yesterday. Getting to 20 or 25 feet around the hole and not getting up and down in two.

"That really stopped my momentum and I made some silly bogeys. Today I played similar but when I got a chance I holed those 15 footers today and I was feeling very comfortable on the greens and making putts.

"There wasn't a huge difference in my attitude. A couple of good things went for me and that kept my momentum going and kept me positive."

Harrington had an inkling that it might be his day when he birdied the first hole and followed up with two more.

He said: "I started my drive just a yard inside the bunker and it bounced dead straight and finished a yards left of the bunker and I hit an eight iron to 15 feet and holed it.

"It could have easily gone in the bunker and I could have taken bogey. So there wasn't much difference in the quality of the golf shot off the tee from one day to the next.

"That is the difference between shooting 68 and shooting 74 or 75."

The Dubliner got up and down from the trap right of the green at the par five second, holing from 10 feet and followed that with a lob wedge to 15 feet for another birdie at the third.

A double bogey at the seventh, where he hit his three wood right into the trees and made a mess of his recovery, stopped his momentum.

He bounced back with a birdie at the long eighth with a lob wedge to four feet but missed from four feet for birdie at the ninth to turn in two under par.

Back to just three over par for the championship, Harrington bogeyed the 10th after a five iron pitched pin high and bounded over the green.

But he hit back with a drive and a six iron to the 505 yard, par four 11th setting up another birdie.

A 15 foot par save at the par three 12th kept him going forward and he followed that with birdies at the 15th and 18th to finish the day just one over par.

He said: "The putt on 12 really kept my momentum going, which was something I wasn't doing yesterday.

"I was missing those from six and seven feet but today I holed them. I missed a chance on 14 and went over the green on 15 but chipped back to two feet for the birdie.

"And I made a good chip and putt par on 16, again a huge difference to yesterday."

At the 18th, Harrington was blocked out by tree on the right but fired a 180 yard five iron to 15 feet and drained the putt.

He beamed: "All in all a few putts dropped."

Darren Clarke bounced back from his first round 83 with a superb second round performance.

The Dungannon man was three under par for his round with two to play but bogeyed the last two holes for a 71 that left him looking certain to miss the cut on 10 over par.