Harrington lurking at Open

By Brian Keogh

Padraig Harrington hit a solid 69 to lurk four off the lead and insisted - It's just where you want to be.

Tied with the likes of Tiger Woods on two-under par, the Dubliner was satisfied with his round on a great day for the Irish.

Three birdies and just one bogey told a tale of consistency for the word No 10.

And he feels ready to strike over the next three days as he chases his first major title.

Harrington said: "It is very hard when you are leading a tournament like this for three or four days. So I think 69 is a good return.

"I am pleased with it and I have got to keep doing more of the same because I did a lot of good things all the way through.

"I didn't drive the ball as well as I would have wanted to, which is something that is of concern to me.

"But the rest of the game was good. I hit most of the shots the way I wanted to. I was good around the greens and it was quite positive all the way through."

After a bogey at the second, where he was forced to play left handed out of a greenside trap, Harrington was totally in control of his game.

A birdie at the ninth got him back to level par but the big turning point was a 40-foot bomb from the fringe off the 13th.

He birdied the par five 14th as well to get to two under and then parred his way home.

He said: "The putt on 13 was a nice bonus. I played six through to nine quite well and looked like making a few birdies.

"I made a good recovery on 10m played the 11th and 12th well and I started to think that maybe I should be under par here.

"It was nice to hole such a good putt on 13 and it did give me momentum. And I made a very good birdie on 14 after hitting a poor tee shot.

"I hit poor tee shots on 14, 15 and 18 and still mananged to played them in one under par. So I am not complaining."

Harrington was also full of praise for Irish heroes Paul McGinley and Rory McIlroy.

He added: "I have been trying to get through to Paul for a while and it is great to see that he has taken the lead and working with Bob Rotella.

"As for Rory - it's fantastic. Seeing him up there is some achievement. We have heard it many times, but he is proving that he is the real deal. I am very impressed. I'd like to go an watch the highlights now."

But while Harrington, McIlroy and McGinley were happy, it was a day to forget for Graeme McDowell and Justin Kehoe.

Out of sorts McDowell crashed to a six-over par 77 and confessed: "I've been technically confused for a few months and I got nothing going early. It's the worst I have hit it in months."

Offaly ace Kehoe parred the first eight holes but played the next eight in seven over to post a disappointing 78.