Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Padraig Harrington cuts it fine in Ryder Cup countdown

What a difference a day makes — as Padraig Harrington can attest after saving embarrassment to squeeze through to the weekend rounds of the Vivendi Cup.

While the rolling French countryside course was alive with the sound of birdie putts dropping on day one, the sounds of day two, if you followed Harrington, were mainly gasps as his ball refused to drop.

As well, there was a sound of his golf ball tearing into trees and then, a short time later, the splash when Harrington found water in seeking to drive the short par-four 12th for a second time.

It proved to be an anxious afternoon wait for Harrington, who eventually carded a 74 to make the cut right on the two-under-par cut-off mark, but a distant 11 strokes behind the leading duo of England's John Parry (67) and Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin (66).

Four players — South Africa's George Coetzee (66), Australia's Richard Green (66), England's James Morrison (68) and French rookie Julien Guerrier (69) — are in second place, at 10-under-par.

Harrington ended his round near 2.30 local time, but it wasn't till five hours later that he was assured of two additional competitive rounds before the Ryder Cup.

The story of Harrington's day was not the five birdies, but the double bogey on the par-four fifth and the triple-bogey at the 273-metre par-four 12th hole.

Harrington sandwiched a three-putt for his double at the fifth in between birdies at three and four, while at the 12th, he indicated he was in between clubs when he first chose driver but hooked left out of bounds and into trees.

After adding the penalty, Harrington went with a three-wood but found a small stream running across the fairway. He took a second penalty before his fifth shot, a wedge, landed well behind the hole from where he chipped to 20-feet and missed the putt.

l Rory McIlroy warmed up for the Ryder Cup with his seventh hole-in-one at Royal Portrush.

McIlroy started the back nine with back-to-back eagles, but he and his father were still beaten by Darren Clarke and Stuart Cage.

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