Thursday 22 March 2018

Harrington has Florida nightmare

Pádraig Harrington fell apart at Copperhead yesterday, following up his sensational first round 61 at The Transitions Tournament in Florida with a harrowing 73.

Just 24 hours after shattering the course record with the lowest round of his life, Harrington was a different player as the confidence visibly oozed out of the Dubliner's game, especially his putting, as he surrendered the tournament lead.

The 40-year-old couldn't miss on Thursday as he polished off 10 birdies in a virtuoso performance which hinted that he might soon get back to his old Major-winning ways.

Though Harrington seemed to get the ball rolling once again by sinking a six-footer for a satisfying four at the par-five 11th, that would be the only birdie on his card yesterday.

The ring of confidence which surrounded Harrington on Thursday seemed to vanish just before the turn when he missed from 13 feet for par at 18 and registered his first bogey of the tournament.

As uncertainty crept into his routine, Harrington's paltry total of 22 putts in the first round would soon be exceeded as he took two from seven feet to save par at four, his 13th hole ... by the finish, he'd taken 33 putts yesterday, missing four times from inside 10 feet.

Most worrying of all were his two three-putt bogeys at six and seven. Indeed, the dreaded word 'yip' came to mind as he missed from just 22 inches for par at six.

From the height of achievement on Thursday, Harrington fell back to eight-under, two shy of Jason Dufner's clubhouse lead. After 24 hours in Nirvana, his lengthy battle for confidence on the greens must be rejoined once again this weekend.

Luke Donald was one shy of the Irishman in the clubhouse after a steady three-under 68 maintained his bid for the victory which would propel him past Rory McIlroy and back to the top of the world.

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