Harrington calls for weather havoc — needs help to close gap on leaders

Harrington calls for weather havoc — needs help to close gap on leaders

Pádraig Harrington waits on the second tee.

Pádraig Harrington wants all hell to break loose at The Open today so he can challenge for his third Claret Jug.

The Irish legend, 43, is six shots behind clubhouse leader Danny Willett after a battling 69 but knows he needs more help from the weekend weather gods if he’s to win his fourth Major.

Too far off the pace for his liking on three under, Harrington looked skyward and roared: “Anything that creates havoc will do me. I’m way, way behind here. 

"The more havoc there is tomorrow the better for me.” 

Winds gusting over 45 mph have been forecast for today and after getting lucky and avoiding yesterday’s rain storm thanks to a three-hour suspension, Harrington wants the weather gods to step in again.

He said: “It’s not like I’m defending anything. I’m not leading the tournament. If I was, I’d like beautiful weather. 

“I want everything possible to be thrown at us tomorrow to possibly catch up.”

The 2007 and 2008 Open winner could have been forced to play in a torrential downpour yesterday but the course flooded some 40 minutes before he was to go off and play was suspended for more than three hours.

Harrington beamed: “We were excepting to have to play but ‘unfortunately’ the town of St. Andrews drains onto the first fairway, so they really couldn't go. We were happy about that.”

Having been forced to get up at 5am, the Dubliner took advantage and snuck into one of the equipment trailers for a 90-minute nap.

He was refreshed when he started just before 11am but it took his game a while to wake up and when he missed a short par putt at the second and then failed to birdie the par-five fifth, he feared the worst at one over.

He admitted: “For a second I started to get into ‘it ain’t gonna be my day, I’m going to miss the cut.’ 

“And then I was thinking to myself — Hold on, my playing partner Marc Warren is leading the tournament and I’m not far behind. 

“Here I am, worried about missing the cut when I can make some birdies and get myself into the tournament.  I picked myself up quickly.”

He birdied the seventh — “Seven was a big putt” — and while he missed chances or made mistakes at the next five holes, his round turned again at the tough 13th, where he made an unexpected birdie from 12 feet.

Harrington confessed: “That turned my round. Instead of thinking, ‘Can I get home in level par to make the cut’, I’m thinking, ‘Can I get home in three or four under par?”

A super pitch and putt birdie at the par-five 14th got him to two under for the day and while he missed a great chance from around four feet after a sensational approach to the tough 17th, he made amends with a birdie from three feet at the last.

Oelased to get finished with other forced to get up early today to complete their rounds, Harrington added: “It’s great that I don’t have to hang around and think about the cut. 

"It would have been nice to hole the putt on 17 for birdie, but you know, 69 is a decent return.”

Asked if he could draw on his Open wins of 2007 and 2008, he said: “No. If I got in there on Sunday afternoon with nine holes to go, I’d think about it. 

“But I’ve 27 holes to play first. If they go well, then the fact I’ve won in Birkdale, Carnoustie and this year in the Honda would be a big bonus. But not yet.”