Harrington happy to let it happen

Pádraig Harrington might never win another tournament  — or he could win The Open next week. Whatever happens, he's unlikely to love his joy in competing as he showed when waltzing into a share of the halfway lead in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald.

Far from suffering the frustration that's affecting Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy — McDowell birdied the last to make the cut on the mark as McIlroy failed to make birdie and missed his third cut in his last four — Harrington now plays with the abandon of a man who has done it all.

"I've kind of come to the conclusion, I've pretty much done what I've done in the game of golf," Harrington said after adding a stress-free 68 to his opening 67 to share top spot with England's Callum Shinkwin and Germany's  Alexander Knappe on nine-under par. 

"I will win tournaments. I enjoy being out here. You know, why bother beating myself up over it. I can do nicely. If I win another major — three majors, four majors — not a huge deal. If you told me I was going to win another six majors, well, okay, that might be a difference.

"But it's not going to change me, and there's no point in me fighting it at this stage. I'm enjoying what I'm doing and kind of letting it happen."

Harrington long ago accepted that he will not win on demand but will contend "out of the blue" as he did when winning the Honda Classic two years ago and the Portugal Masters last year.

Is he surprised to be leading?

"Not at all," Harrington said. "Not even close to being surprised. It will happen pretty regularly. I can't do it on-demand though. I can't tell you it's going to happen next week. But it will happen, just like winning in Portugal there six months ago; winning at Honda the year before. I will throw these, sometimes maybe out of the blue.

"But I don't think they will be as much out of the blue going forward, but I will have tournaments where I shoot good rounds like this and get into the lead. Who knows what's going to happen over the next two days, but it's not a surprise to me. It's just part of the -- I suppose it's just part of the sequence, of the up-and-downs, and I'll just patiently wait for the ups."

Harrington now loves being the elder statesman, happy to share the secrets he once kept close to his chest.

As for winning the Scottish Open and then contending for The Open on his return to Royal Birkdale next week, he's taking things as they come. What choice has he got?

"You know what, I'd love it, but I will have it tomorrow morning on the first tee, and I'll be nervous hopefully late on Sunday here," he said

"Yeah, it would be a nice buzz, and again, I'd love to win another major, and you know, if I did win next week, I'd sit here on Sunday and tell you all the reasons why it does make a difference to my career (laughing). But at the moment, I'm going to tell you I found myself in a better place by deflecting a little bit in that sense."

Harrington knows he's not the Harrington of 2008 — he says he lost his innocence and the change in the groove rule has robbed him of his ability to get up and down from seemingly impossible positions.

He remains a hugely entertaining and brilliant sportsman and one wonders what McDowell and McIlroy could learn from him as they go through some temporary struggles with their games.

It was important for McDowell to birdie the last to make the cut having finished with dropped shots in France and Ireland to miss out.

A four under par 68 was just the tonic McDowell needed having slipped out of the world's top 100 this week for the first time since 2008.

As for McIlroy, he shot a one-under 71 to miss the cut by two strokes on one-over par but insisted that while he's "frustrated" he still believes he's close to turning the corner.

"I thought my putting improved this week compared to last week. Wedge play, you know, I hit some better wedges today but still room for improvement," he said. 

"It's hard to sort of put my finger on it. But it's not like I'm shooting 76s and 77s. It's all around even par, but look, even par these days isn't good enough.

" I'm just waiting for something. Waiting for something, some sort of spark — just something to go right — and the last couple weeks haven't been like that. Just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week.."

He now plans to get in some early practice rounds for The Open a Royal Birkdale hoping he is close to turning the corner.

"I'd be much more worried if I went out there and shot a couple of 76s and I'm nowhere near trying to make the cut or whatever," he said.

"The difference between shooting one-under par and four or five-under par isn't that much of a difference. 

"I played the front nine today in three-under par and felt pretty good. I had that putt hole on 13, and I gave myself some chances coming in, but yeah, look, it is what it is. Just got to get myself ready for next week."

In a game of fine margins, he believes he's simply on a bad run and will turn things around sooner rather than later.

"I've just been on the wrong side of [the breaks] the past couple of weeks, and hopefully next week I'm on the right side of them... if I go to Birkdale next week and I shoot a couple of even pars like I've sort of done these last couple weeks, I don't think I'll be that far -- I know it's going to be a much tougher test than it has been the last couple weeks. I feel like I'm more than capable of going down there and shooting a couple of even pars or shooting something in the 60s and getting myself into contention."

Paul Dunne went out in four-over to go back to level par but fought back on the front nine, his homeward half, with three birdies to sit in the pack on three-under par.

Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Dundonald Links (Par 72)

135 A Knappe (Ger) 70 65; Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 67 68; C Shinkwin (Eng) 67 68; 

136 I Poulter (Eng) 67 69; A Dodt (Aus) 67 69; 

137 G Havret (Fra) 71 66; N Colsaerts (Bel) 70 67; R Fowler (USA) 67 70; 

138 A Levy (Fra) 72 66; M Kuchar (USA) 68 70; 

139 D Horsey (Eng) 71 68; K Broberg (Swe) 69 70; A Otaegui (Esp) 73 66; M Ilonen (Fin) 65 74; 

140 B Hebert (Fra) 68 72; J Scrivener (Aus) 72 68; S Gallacher (Sco) 68 72; A Scott (Aus) 69 71; L Bjerregaard (Den) 69 71; 

141 A Johnston (Eng) 73 68; L Haotong (Chn) 70 71; H Stenson (Swe) 72 69; S Brazel (Aus) 72 69; B Ritthammer (Ger) 72 69; Paul Dunne (Irl) 68 73; A Chesters (Eng) 71 70; R Fox (Nzl) 72 69; R Wattel (Fra) 72 69; D Stewart (Sco) 71 70; J Campillo (Esp) 72 69; 

142 J Carlsson (Swe) 73 69; L Donald (Eng) 70 72; R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 72; R Ramsay (Sco) 68 74; R Sterne (RSA) 73 69; A Sullivan (Eng) 70 72; R Rock (Eng) 73 69; B Wiesberger (Aut) 73 69; A Wall (Eng) 71 71; T Aiken (RSA) 69 73; B Grace (RSA) 75 67; R Paratore (Ita) 69 73; M Carlsson (Swe) 68 74; R Gouveia (Por) 70 72; 

143 R Fisher (Eng) 69 74; T Bjørn (Den) 72 71; P Hanson (Swe) 69 74; S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 72; M Kieffer (Ger) 71 72; Graeme McDowell (Nir) 75 68; R Bland (Eng) 69 74; L Slattery (Eng) 75 68; R Karlsson (Swe) 69 74; A Björk (Swe) 73 70; M Pavon (Fra) 69 74; J Smith (Eng) 72 71; P Peterson (USA) 67 76; B An (Kor) 72 71; S Gros (Fra) 72 71; A Cañizares (Esp) 71 72; D Howell (Eng) 70 73; S Lee (Kor) 71 72; G Stal (Fra) 74 69; A Lahiri (Ind) 76 67; P Waring (Eng) 73 70; 


144 G Bourdy (Fra) 74 70; J Doherty (Sco) 73 71; H Otto (RSA) 73 71; R Karlberg (Swe) 75 69; C Shih-Chang (Tpe) 71 73; S Cink (USA) 72 72; M Warren (Sco) 72 72; S Hend (Aus) 75 69; J Dufner (USA) 71 73; R Knox (Sco) 74 70; B Dredge (Wal) 73 71; R Langasque (Fra) 69 75; G Wright (Wal) 74 70; T Detry (Bel) 75 69; E Molinari (Ita) 73 71; P Reed (USA) 74 70; M Kaymer (Ger) 74 70; H Porteous (RSA) 74 70; F Fritsch (Ger) 73 71; M Fraser (Aus) 72 72; T Hatton (Eng) 73 71; A Quiros (Esp) 72 72; M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 73 71; B Stone (RSA) 72 72; S Dyson (Eng) 71 73; 

145 C Wood (Eng) 72 73; G Storm (Eng) 75 70; J Fahrbring (Swe) 72 73; W Ormsby (Aus) 71 74; M Foster (Eng) 73 72; Rory McIlroy (Nir) 74 71; M Wallace (Eng) 73 72; N Bertasio (Ita) 71 74; J Quesne (Fra) 74 71; M Siem (Ger) 73 72; P Uihlein (USA) 75 70; C Paisley (Eng) 73 72; D Drysdale (Sco) 74 71; J Lagergren (Swe) 72 73; E Grillo (Arg) 72 73; 

146 D Fichardt (RSA) 74 72; A Noren (Swe) 70 76; N Kimsey (Eng) 74 72; S Heisele (Ger) 71 75; J Walters (RSA) 73 73; 

147 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 75; M Armitage (Eng) 76 71; M Korhonen (Fin) 74 73; W Ashun (Chn) 75 72; M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 72 75; N Elvira (Esp) 73 74; D Im (USA) 76 71; B Rumford (Aus) 72 75; T Immelman (RSA) 76 71; M Manassero (Ita) 72 75; 

148 E De La Riva (Esp) 74 74; V Dubuisson (Fra) 71 77; N Fasth (Swe) 77 71; J Donaldson (Wal) 73 75; F Zanotti (Par) 71 77; P Larrazábal (Esp) 76 72; M Southgate (Eng) 75 73; S Chawrasia (Ind) 72 76; J Morrison (Eng) 74 74; 

149 S Jamieson (Sco) 76 73; D Frittelli (RSA) 76 73; O Fisher (Eng) 78 71; T Jaidee (Tha) 77 72; 

150 R Jacquelin (Fra) 75 75; C Hanson (Eng) 71 79; J Edfors (Swe) 75 75; S Walker (Eng) 78 72; S Manley (Wal) 74 76; S Henry (Sco) 77 73; 

151 D Brooks (Eng) 73 78; J Wang (Kor) 74 77; D Burmester (RSA) 77 74; M Laird (Sco) 75 76; F Aguilar (Chi) 77 74; 

152 P Angles (Esp) 77 75; 

153 P O'Hara (Sco) 79 74; P Lawrie (Sco) 77 76; S Scott (am) (Sco) 78 75; 

154 D Perrier (Fra) 70 84; J Lima (Por) 76 78; 

156 J Stalter (Fra) 77 79; 

157 D Lingmerth (Swe) 71 86; 

166 D Lipsky (USA) 77 89; 

** L Jensen (Den) 76 WD; D Clarke (Nir) 80 WD; G Coetzee (RSA) 79 RT;