Padraig Harrington faces a race against time to win his seventh Ryder Cup cap by right and avoid the need for a second successive captain’s pick.
The Dubliner goes into the final round of the Reno-Tahoe Open 13 points adrift of leader JJ Henry in a share of 14th.
Barring a dramatic final round victory charge, the world No 62 and three time major champion will go into next week’s US PGA needing to win to qualify for Jose Maria Olazabal’s top 10 via the World Points List. See standings.
Even if he wins the 24 points on offer to the winner at Montreaux Golf and Country Club tonight, he could still need a top two finish in the final major of the season at Kiawah Island to make it unless he decides to add the following week’s Wyndham Championship to his schedule.
He could also skip the first event of the FedEx Cup series, the Barclays at Bethpage Black, which does not count towards the Ryder Cup and play instead in the final counting Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
That appears to be an unlikely scenario given that Harrington said during the Open that he would be playing in New York as the skipper will be taking performances there into account before he announces his wildcards.
Whatever happens, Harrington will feel that he let a chance slip on Saturday. He birdied three of the first four in the modified stableford tournament, picked up another birdie at the seventh and then birdied the 12th to tie for the lead.
The leaders were still on the front nine but while Harrington had kept a clean card and avoided taking any backwards steps, he three putted the par-five 13th for par, bogeyed the 15th and then failed to get up and down from greenside sand at the par-five 18th.
In the end it added up to nine points which left him tied for 14th on 23 points, 13 behind 2006 ryder Cup player Henry who leads by three from Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha entering the final round.