Harrington suffers punishment in paradise
Pádraig Harrington went from contention to making up the numbers in the space of two holes. Archive picture: Picture: Eoin Clarke  www.golffile.ie

Pádraig Harrington went from contention to making up the numbers in the space of two holes. Archive picture: Picture: Eoin Clarke www.golffile.ie

Two holes from hell — a triple and a double bogey in quick succession — crushed Padraig Harrington's hopes of a heavenly return to the winner's circle in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The Dubliner was cruising at Monterey Peninsula, four under for the day and comfortably inside the top 10 as he prepared to tackle his final eight holes.

He'd made five birdies and just one bogey all day — a three-putt at the fourth — before he bunkered his tee shot at the par-three 11th and failed to get up and down.

It appeared to be only a minor hiccup but two holes later, the 42-year old's hopes of challenging for his first PGA Tour win since 2008 had been dashed to pieces, not by his putting but his long game.

A triple bogey eight at the 12th, where he took four to reach the fairway after a bad drive, was quickly followed by a double bogey six at the next after another poor tee shot from a player who has been hitting the ball extremely well from tee to green.

Suddenly, Ireland's triple major winner was back on one-under par and anxiously looking at the projected, level par cut.

Two pars, followed by a bride at the par-five 16th frightened that spectre away and he eventually signed for a one over 72 that left him tied for 31st on two under par but out of contention for a win that could have qualified him for the WGC-Accenture Match Play in a couple of weeks as well as the Masters.

He's a distant 11 strokes behind clubhouse leader Jimmy Walker, who posted an impressive four under 67 at the same track - the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club — to lead New Zealander Tim Wilkinson and American Hunter Mahan  by six shots on 13 under par. Leaderboard

A victory at Pebble Beach on Sunday would be Walker's third of the 2013-14 season but hopes of an Irish triumph rest with Dermot Desmond, who is tied for third in the Pro-Am with his partner Rafael Cabrera Bello.

Harrington and JP McManus also made the cut for the top 25 teams but there was no luck for the McDowells.

Like Harrington, Graeme McDowell also had to grind to make the final day as he carded a level par 72 in tough conditions on his first competitive round at Pebble Beach since his 2010 US Open victory.

The Portrush man was two over for the day through 12 holes after mixing birdies at the second and the fifth with bogeys at the third, fourth, ninth and 12th.

At one over par, he was heading for a day off on Sunday but he got up and down from 34 yards for birdie at the 14th, and then holed a 10 footer for another birdie at the next before closing with three pars to end the day 12 behind the leader in a tie for 39th on one-under.

European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley had a tough, made tougher by a suspension in play for high winds that blew balls off the more exposed greens as it gusted over 30mph.

Playing at Monterey Peninsula, the Dubliner had no luck on the greens as he racked up eight bogeys and just one birdie in a 78 to finish well off the pace on six over in what is one of his favourite events.

Play was suspended due to darkness with 12 players yet to complete their third rounds.