Padraig Harrington will resume his weather-delayed second round in the Travelers Championship today needing to pick up at least two shots in 12 holes to survive the cut.
The good news is that he will re-start facing a four footer for birdie at the seventh that should ease his burden.
The Dubliner resumed his rain-delayed first round on Friday morning and picked up two birdies in the four holes he had remaining to post a one under 69 and trail first round leader Jim Renner by six strokes.
Harrington didn’t get to start his second round until 6.30 on Friday evening and while he played his first six holes in one under par before darkness descended, he was a whopping 12 strokes behind 19-year old amateur Patrick Cantlay, who shot a course record 10-under 60 to lead by four on 13 under.
It was the lowest ever round by an amateur on the PGA Tour but the UCLA star, who won the low amateur prize at last week’s US Open, insisted that he has no intention of leaving college early to turn professional.
“I’m going to stay amateur definitely for the Walker Cup (in September), and my plan is to stay amateur until I finish college,” he said.
How times have changed for 39-year old Harrington since he picked up his third major title in the US PGA at Oakland Hills less than three years ago.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and 22-year old Rory McIlroy are now major winners while the holders of the Masters, the Open and the US PGA titles are all in their 20’s.
The Irish star has slipped to 52nd in the world rankings and another failure this week would complete a disappointing three-week sojourn in the US where he finished 52nd in the FedEx St Jude Classic before coming home a lowly 45th behind McIlroy at Congressional.
The Ryder Cup star putted poorly in the US Open but he showed signs in Connecticut that his putter is warmly up slowly as the field took advantage of preferred lies at the Cromwell course.
Having holed a 14 footer at the 14th hole of his first round before the weather rolled in, he resumed by holing a seven footer at the sixth and a 30 footer at the par-three eighth to post a one under 69.
Things were looking good when he drained a 20 footer for birdie at the opening hole of his second round before he complicated matters by three putting from just nine feet for bogey at the second, missing a two and a half footer for his par.
He made a great par save from 20 feet at the fourth, where a hooked tee shot left him struggling to get back into position.
But he then bunkered his tee shot at the 223-yard fifth and missed from 12 feet for par to slip three strokes outside the project cut mark on level par.
He hit back immediately with a nice birdie at the par-five sixth, where he hit a 30 yard pitch to eight feet and holed the putt, and then set up a gilt-edged birdie chance at the 443-yard seventh by hitting a 144-yard approach to three feet, 11 inches.
The star of the second day was endenuably Cantlay shot a 67 on Friday morning in the rain-delayed first round and then had eight birdies and an eagle in the afternoon.
“I knew where I was. I knew I needed to make eagle on 18 for 59,” he said. “It’s tough to hole it from 152.”
But he came close. His approach landed just above the hole and rolled back to just over 2 feet below the pin.
“I thought it had a chance, it was covering the flag pretty good,” he said. “It takes some luck.”
D.J. Trahan (62), Webb Simpson (65) Alexandre Rocha (66) and Vaughn Taylor (66) were tied for second along with Andres Romero who had completed five holes when play was suspended because of darkness just after 8 p.m. Seventy-seven players are scheduled to complete the second round on Saturday.
According to reports:
An amateur hasn’t won a PGA TOUR event since Phil Mickelson in the 1991 Northern Telecom Open in Arizona. If Cantlay wins, he would have 60 days to decide whether to accept a spot on the TOUR and the two-year exemption that goes with it.
Cantlay just completed his freshman year at UCLA, and said he still plans to stay until he earns his degree.
“I’m going to stay amateur definitely for the Walker Cup, and my plan is to stay amateur until I finish college,” he said.