Harrington, Clarke and Lowry fail Open test

Harrington, Clarke and Lowry fail Open test
The 18th at Royal Birkdale

The 18th at Royal Birkdale

Pádraig Harrington came within an inch of chipping in at the last but agonisingly missed the cut by a shot in The Open.

The 2008 champion was three-over for the day and six over for the Championship playing the 18th.

Needing to hole a 20-yard pitch over a bunker, he looked on in frustration as his wedge headed straight for the hole but broke right six inches out and stopped on the edge of the cup.

After signing for a second successive 73, Harrington groaned: “It looked good. It was right half of the hole. I thought it was going to break right to left instead of left to right. 

“If it kept going straight, it was in. It looked like it was going in alright. Story of my day.”

The Dubliner, 45, made just two birdies all week on a  bad afternoon for the Irish as Darren Clarke shot 73 to miss out on eight over and Shane Lowry imploded down the stretch in horrendous afternoon conditions and shot a 78 to finish five shots outside the mark on 10-over par.

Harrington was in trouble from the moment he three putted the second for a double bogey six and three putted again at the third to slip to six over.

He said: “It was a bad start obviously, throwing up a double-bogey, and then a bogey with two three-putts in a row. 

“You’re giving a lot up at the start. If you want to play well in these conditions, you get one ahead early and you feel you've got something in the bank.”

While he birdied the fifth, he was unlucky to get caught in a torrential downpour and bogeyed the 10th.

Then his hopes of making the cut the suffered a major blow at the 193-yard 14th when he changed from the five iron to a six, came up short in a bunker and lipped out from five feet for par.

He birdied his talisman holed, the 17th, but there was no miracle at the 18th and he now heads to the Barracuda Championship in Reno in two weeks before moving on to the USGPA at Quail Hollow.

He said: “I played how I expected. Played grand. I made a few errors in judging the wind. I made two birdies in the two days which is not good heading to Reno as that’s the one where birdies count. 

"The nicest part of the day was when we stopped [for the rain suspension]. It was lovely at that stage, dead calm no wind.

"Then it came back up windy and wet again. Realistically, the golf ball was going nowhere at the  end of the day. 

“I only hit two bad shots today, and one of them resulted in a birdie at the 17th when I kicked off a bank to 10 feet.

“Between now and Birkdale the last time I was here, I probably got the average amount of breaks, so I'll take it that it went this way, this time. 

“I'd rather have them all in one week and none in the next.”

Lowry three-putted the first from short of the green for bogey then failed to escape at the first attempt from a fairway bunker at the third and walked off with a double bogey six.

He dug deep from that point onwards and after great par saves at the sixth and eighth in the worst of the rain, he turned in five over par after narrowly missing from 18 feet for birdie at the ninth.

The Clara man spun a glorious approach back to three feet at the 10th and made the slippery putt to get back to four-over.

But just when he looked good to make the cut he bogeyed the par-three 12th, double bogeyed the 13th and 14th and followed a birdie at the 15th with a bogey six at the 17th and another dropped shot at the last.

Clarke birdied the first to get back to four over par but the 2011 champion bogeyed the second and third and turned six over for the championship.

After back to back birdies at the 10th and 11th sent him soaring back up the leaderboard, he made a double bogey six at the 13th to slip outside the cut mark on six-over before bogeys at the 16th and 18th ended his hopes.