More questions than answers for Harrington
Padraig Harrington might go to Turnberry with his sixth Irish PGA title in the bag but his confidence and trust in his swing has gone AWOL with time running out before he bids of a hat-trick of Open wins.
The Dubliner couldn’t make a birdie in a two over par 73 at the European Club yesterday but still found himself four strokes clear of Huddersfield-born Simon Thornton on two under par going into the final round.
Harrington's chief rival Leslie Walker inflammed an old wrist injury on the third hole when he was just three behind and was forced to withdraw eight holes from home on a day when veteran Denis O'Sullivan's level par 71 was the best score of the day.
A four shot lead would normally be enough for the world number 12 to take on world number 846 Thornton with little to worry about. But Harrington is so low on confidence that he is not so sure if it will be enough.
"If I was on form, four shots could be a comfortable lead but it doesn’t feel comfortable to me now," Harrington said of his Saturday morning (9.38am) showdown with Thornton. "Certainly not on a golf course as demanding as this one. I’ve proved it myself in the past, it’s easy to run up a score on any hole out there."
Harrington revealed that he hasn’t been this badly prepared for a major since he missed the cut in the Open at Hoylake in 2006 and admitted that he urgently needs to sit down with his mental coach Dr Bob Rotella to find a way of regaining some trust in what he’s doing.
He said: “It does worry me. It makes for a much more stressful three or four days going into the Open. If you have done your preparation right, you are just winding down. But I don’t have that luxury.
"I’ve probably hit the ball the poorest I’ve hit it all year in terms of the shots I am capable of hitting. I’ve probably set myself back in terms of how I’d prepare myself for a Major by about three years – in that I would have gone into the Majors three or four years ago like this, just not knowing what’s going to turn up.”
Harrington finds his putting touch
Just eight days before he seeks a hat-trick of Claret Jugs at Turnberry, the Dubliner rediscovered his putting touch to fire a three under par 68 and trail Dundalk’s Leslie Walker by a stroke at a windless European Club.