Padraig Harrington undid his hard work over the first two days when he crashed out of contention with a four over 75 in the third round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera.
Disappointed to backpedal in last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - where he felt his own high expectations and lack of acceptance of poor shots cost him dear - the Dubliner threw away a chance to contend for the title today when he dropped five strokes in five-hole stretch late in his round.
Having worked hard with his mental coach Dr Bob Rotella to remind himself to be more accepting of his bad shots, Harrington opened with a 68 and followed up with an even par 71 in the worst of Friday’s weather to go into the weekend just five strokes off the lead in a share of 14th place.
Things were looking good when he birdied the easy, par-five first hole on Saturday but the errors soon began to mount and Harrington finished the day tied for 51st and 11 strokes adrift of new leader Aaron Baddeley of Australia.
A three-putt bogey at the fourth started the rot and from there it was a combination of erratic putting, wayward driving and some uncharacteristic short game errors.
A poor drive at the seventh led to another bogey and while he birdied the par five 11th, he double bogeyed the 12th, scrambled well to save par from 12 feet at the 13th but then bogeyed the 14th, 15th and 16th before signing off with a birdie at the last that will have done nothing to brighten his mood.
Baddeley, 29, is without a win on the PGA Tour since the 2007 FBR Open, shot a four under par 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Americans Kevin Na and Fred Couples.
Na also carded a 67 in a round of seven birdies and three bogeys, while 51-year-old Couples, the overnight leader, went round in 70.
Vijay Singh of Fiji picked up two birdies in his final three holes for a 67 to move on to eight under in fourth place.
“I’m really, really fired up for tomorrow,” said Singh, who fell outside the world’s top 100 this year before climbing back to 82nd entering this week. “I know I have a good position, I’m in a good position to win tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.”
Ryan Moore and John Senden were on six under after rounds of 70 and 71 respectively with England’s Justin Rose one of seven players in a tie for seventh on five under after a 70.