Harrington loses his green fingers

Padraig Harrington confessed that he may have to reassess his putting after slipping to 20th in The Open.

A closing 75 was not what the Dubliner had in mind and he missed out on the playoff by eight shots on seven under.

The two time Open champion, 43, was going for his third Claret Jug and his fourth major after three years in the wilderness.

But after a sensatonal start that brought him three birdies in the first five holes and a share of the lead, he drove into a gorse bush at the sixth, lost a ball and racked up a double bogey six.

The putting gremlins then took over and he had two three putts in a 33-putt round that undid many of the good feelings he had about his charge for the title.

Trying to look on the bright side after his double bogey, bogey finish, he said: "Look, you are better off being in contention and finishing 20th than shooting 66 on a Sunday to finish 20th. 

"Under nice conditions that wouldn't bother me at all. But it’s disappointing, as I said, the last couple of holes even.”

After opening with a pair of birdies to grab a share of the lead, he shaved the hole with a 15 foot eagle try at the fifth and tapped in for birdie to remain in the hunt.

But his challenge petered out as the round progressed and he lost confidence in his feel for pace with his putter - something that even Jordan Spieth find a challenge..

Devastated despite the feel-good factor of contending for a major again, Harrington said: “I did feel good. I felt very good mentally. Not great on the greens at times, but very good mentally up to a certain point. 

“Then the greens kind of got to me and bit. I hit lovely shots really all the way home. Only really that tee shot on 17 wasn’t great, but everything was pretty strong.”

Refusing to blame over aggression for his mistakes, he said: “I had a reasonable 25-footer to go 4-under after five holes, and on the sixth, you could hit it nearly to the front of the green so it was potential”

His tally of 33 putts included two costly three putts and he confessed that he simply lost confidence in his pace.

While he was tied for the lead after his two putt birdie at the fifth, he missed a 15 footer for eagle there.

A double bogey six at the sixth where he drove into deep gorse and lost a ball was the beginning of the end.

And when he then three-putted the par-three eighth, knocking his first putt off the green, he knew he was in trouble

He said: “You know, I hit a lot of putts earlier than that just didn't come out on the line I wanted them to come out on. 

“Even earlier that eight, I just wasn't pure-ing the putts today. I found the greens slow, so every time I was over it, I was trying to think about pace, which maybe was getting to me a little bit.”

A birdie two at the 11th left him four behind but he then dropped two shots in a row, three-putting the 14th and driving into sand at the 15th before following a monster 70 footer for birdie at the 16th with a double bogey-bogey finish.

Playing along Marc Leishman, Harrington admitted he was just truing to stay out of the Australian’s way as he eventually battled his way into a playoff.

Of his six at the 17th,Harrington said: “I was trying to get out of Mark’s way on 17 and I didn’t really get focused in on what I was doing off the tee there. 

“As I said, I hit the ball lovely all day, so I'm happy about that, and putting-wise, need to think a little bit about that going forward. 

"You do have your good and bad days.I played quite nicely tee to green. I just struggled a bit around the greens. But sometimes that happens. 

“As I said, I hit the ball lovely all day, so I'm happy about that, and putting-wise, need to think a little bit about that going forward. You do have your good and bad days.”