Padraig Harrington took the first step on the road to rediscovering his game when he ignored what he described as “some of the junk in my head” to fire a second-round 70 in the Austrian GolfOpen.
In danger of missing the cut after an opening 75, the 40 year old Dubliner was unhappy to take 32 putts but otherwise pleased with his score in his first outing with the “new swing” he’s been given my coach Pete Cowen.
Currently ranked 81st in the world, making him the 26th highest ranked European, Harrington needs to get into some kind of groove before next week’s megabucks Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
So far, so good.
“I couldn’t have been happier off the tee, but when it comes to playing finesse shots, there’s a little too much junk in the head at the minute,” Harrington said of his bid to take his new swing to the course.
“If I was playing a major this week, I’d like the head to be a lot quieter, but I’ll put up with it for the minute. The pressure of having to perform today and make the cut helps clear my mind. It helps me to focus and maybe stop some of the thoughts I had out there today.
“I had a few three-putts so it could have been better. I had a fair few chances and all my birdies were not far off tap-ins, so there was some good golf there.”
While Harrington is tied for 47th, the best Irish story of the day was the four under 68 that legt Gary Murphy - cardless and with nowhere to go this year after failing at PQ1 - tied for on four-under-par, just three strokes behind leaders Robert Cole (65) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (70).
A win would give him a one-year exemption, while a top 10 would get him into next week’s $5m event in Scotland, where a decent performance would help him climb the rankings and improve his status.
Three of this year’s winning Walker Cup team were in action but while Tom Lewis and Andy Sullivan both qualified, Portstewart’s Paul Cutler had too much to do on his professional debut after an opening 77 and a 74 left him well outside the cut mark on seven over.