Harrington misses first cut for eight months

Padraig Harrington missed his first cut for eight months after a disappointing second round 78 in The Players Championship at Sawgrass.

The Dubliner, 36, bogeyed his final five holes to miss out by three shots on a day of high winds and even higher scoring.

Veteran Bernhard Langer, 50, hit a best-of-the day 67 to trail leader Kenny Perry (70) by a shot on five under par alongside American Paul Goydos.

But Harrington headed home after playing his back nine in six-over 42 with six bogeys in his last seven holes.

Two-under par for the tournament after a pair of early birdies, the Open champion three putted the 17th for the second day in a row and then three-putted again at the 18th before taking on the tough front nine.

With winds gusting up to 50 mph, he bogeyed the first, birdied the par-five second but then bogeyed the par three third and followed that with five consecutive bogeys to finish.

Boosted by an unlikely monster birdie from 60 feet at the famous par-three 17th, Langer said: "It was awesome. I hit the ball really well, had lots of opportunities."

Revealing that he was playing in pain, he added: "My back's been sore, my knee, my shoulder. The physios have been a great help, otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to play."

Langer, a two-time runner up in 1993 and 1995, made a stunning start, gathering an eagle and four birdies in the first eight holes.

Later, at the island-green 17th, his tee shot barely cleared the water, stopping on the front of the green, just about the length of a cricket wicket from the cup.

The usually stoic Langer pumped a fist in celebration when the ball disappeared, but what the golfing gods give, they also take away, as he found out with a bogey at the last, where he missed the green.

Spaniard Garcia, meanwhile, produced another superb long game display, hitting every fairway and missing only three greens in regulation.

A 73 was not much reward for his efforts, but he could hardly complain about his position.

"Unfortunately, I shot the highest score I could today," said Garcia, whose observation was spot on. "I drove the ball unbelievably and hit a lot of good iron shots."

Ian Poulter headed an otherwise non-existent British challenge, five strokes behind, but he was frustrated.

"I'm extremely disappointed with how I finished," said Poulter, who dropped four shots in the final six holes for a 74, still better than the average score in the brutal conditions.

Luke Donald was the only other British player to make the cut, with Richard Johnson (six-over), Lee Westwood (seven-over), Justin Rose (seven-over), Brian Davis (eight-over) and Paul Casey (nine-over) all making early exits, along with Harrington.

And Donald had to work hard to stay alive. He dug himself into a deep hole with an opening 75, but fought back with a rollercoaster 72 to post a three-over 147 total, advancing to the weekend with nothing to spare.

"Yesterday was definitely worse than today," he said. "I only hit four fairways and seven greens (in regulation) yesterday. Today I hit a lot more greens but I'm still making too many mistakes.

"I'm working really hard and waiting for something to click, but still struggling a bit.

"It's about getting a couple of good rounds, boosting your confidence, because I know I'm working on the right things.

"Technically, my swing is getting better. It's not resulting in better results but it's going to come soon."