Padraig Harrington confessed that he’s struggling for confidence as he battles to end his two-year victory drought.

The triple major winner, 38, scrambled brilliantly to fire a three 68 and finish just four shots adrift of pace setter David Howell in the 3 Irish Open.

Despite a bogey free effort he conceded that he’s playing defensive golf and needs to have more self-belief if he’s to contend for his second Irish Open win.

Harrington said: “My confidence could be better. I think I am playing better than I am showing and a bit more self-confidence would help the game, no doubt about it.

“I have to be a little more confident and not so tentative. Certainly the game is strong and I know it is in there. I just have to let it happen.”

Harrington is under pressure to win his sixth Ryder Cup cap but he knows that he’s just one win away from curing that headache.

He has a golden opportunity to solve all his problems over the next three weeks as he heads from Killarney to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA.

But he’s fed up repeating the statistic that he has had 14 top 10s in the last 12 months because he knows that means he is on the defensive about his form.

His last win came in the US PGA nearly two years ago and while he’s desperate to get across the line again, he knows that his time will come if he’s patient.

He said: “Sometimes you find it very hard to win and then all of a sudden the floodgates open and somebody throws you a tournament or something like that and it’s easy to win.  You just have to stay patient.

“I’m trying a little too hard and I’m not relaxing enough and I’m not care free enough, all of these clichés.  I just need to let it happen a bit.

“I was happy to shoot the score I did. I made a few nice up and downs at the very end which is always very pleasing to keep the round going. Over all I can’t complain with 68.”

Ranked 17th in the race for nine automatic Ryder Cup places, Harrington confessed that he has considered skipping the first event of the FedEx Cup play-offs to play the final qualifying event at Gleneagles.

But that could mean cancelling a Special Olympics clinic in the US and Harrington is hoping he qualifies automatically.

He said: “I’m starting to consider changing my mind, but you don’t want to let people down, either.”