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Old magic returning thanks to Harri putter

By Robert Jones

Triple Major champion Padraig Harrington is emerging from the doldrums and for that his putter must take most of the credit.

The Dubliner has not won a regular Tour event since landing his third Major, the 2008 US PGA Championship, but his spirits have soared in recent weeks thanks to a share of eighth place at the US Masters and a tie for fourth in the US Open.

“I've been putting better, that's essentially it,” Harrington said after an Open practice round.

“I'm playing better but the putting really does help. I would have said I played well over the last couple of years too, at times, but I certainly didn't putt very well.”

Harrington — who won The Open in 2007 and 2008, the last player to triumph in back to back Majors — said he tended to over-hit the ball on the greens.

“I'm particularly trying to improve my ability to hole 15-footers and I've done a lot of practice on them,” he explained.

“I used to have a 15-foot putting stroke for a four-foot putt and I didn't realise that.”

Harrington said he was relieved to discover the problem on the greens was physical rather than mental.

“I had no idea that (overhitting) is what I was doing but that's what it turned out (to be) and it's helped me a lot,” he added.

Harrington, the first Irishman to win The Open in 60 years, has also been experimenting by taking a spirit level on to the putting surfaces in practice at Lytham.

“I've been picking a number of pin positions on each green and took a spirit level out and measured the straight putts,” he said.

“I was actually more practising my reading of the greens than expecting that I can pick out where the pins are exactly going to be,” added the 40-year-old.

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