Harrington delivers after Postage Stamp error

Harrington delivers after Postage Stamp error

Pádraig Harrington avoided a major disaster at the Postage Stamp, then delivered a first class finish keep his hopes of winning The Open alive

The Dubliner, 44, plugged his tee shot in the infamous Coffin bunker left of the 123-yard, par-three eighth and ran up a double bogey five.

But after a bogey at the 10th left him one over and facing a possible nightmare finish, he bounced back strongly with some great pars saves, then birdied the 16th and 17th to post a one under 70.

Beaming after dodging a tournament wrecking disaster, Harrington reflected on the Postage Stamp and said: “I took the attitude ‘ok I’ve lost two shots but if I play the hard holes well I’ll make up two shots on the field coming home.’ 

“A lot of players would have gone out there thinking ‘get a few birdies on the card and I have something spare for coming home’.

“But that double meant I had nothing spare. I knew if I wanted to stay in the tournament, and keep myself alive, I was going to have to have a good back nine, not drop any shots and make any birdies. And that’s what I did.”

Plugged under the face of the bunker at the eighth and forced to play out backwards, Harrington’s recovery dribbled into the front bunker.

He couldn’t take a proper stance there either but got out to 20 feet and almost saved bogey.

Still a lover of the hole, Harrington said: “It’s straightforward if you hit a nice tee shot. But it is a little bit intimidating because you know if you hit a bad tee shot you are in dire trouble. 

"I love it. I love golf holes like that. I think, if you hit a bad tee shot and you get a bit cute, that’s when you can take six at the hole.” 

The double bogey undid Harrington’s decent start, which included five pars and two-putt birdies at the par five fourth and six holes to get him to two under par.

But he then bogeyed the tough 10th to slip to one over heading into the toughest stretch on the course and had to dig deep just to survive.

Pleased to get up and down brilliantly for pars at the 11th, 12th and 13th, he watched Louis Oosthuizen make a hole in one at the 14th, then birdied the 16th with a cut up wedge to six feet.

The 17th isn’t a birdie hole but he rapped in a 50 footer for a two there and parred the last to post a one-under 70 on a day when Paul Dunne crashed to a six over 77 he called “pathetic”.

The Greystones rookie held a share of the lead going into the final round as an amateur last year

But he crashed back to earth yesterday, going out in one under only to limp home in 42 for a six over 77 that leaves him facing his fifth missed cut in last six starts.

Dunne groaned: “I played okay on the front nine but it wasn’t hard to. It was five iron wedge on every hole. 

“Then when I turned on the back nine into the wind, I kind of got found out.

“I have been playing rubbish for the last month anyway so it’s kind of a continuation of what has been happening.

“I think if I miss the cut here it will be something like six out of seven cuts, which is pretty pathetic.”

Asked the difference a year makes, he said: “I was just playing better. I could have told you coming into the week last year I was going to do okay. 

“And I could have told you two days ago that I was going to play badly today. That’s the way it goes.”