Padraig Harrington assured himself of just a second pay cheque this season and then sung the praise of retiring fellow Carnoustie Open champion, Paul Lawrie at the ASI Scottish Open.
Harrington got off to a great second day start with a third hole eagle and while he looked a little shaky in posting a 13th hole double-bogey, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain hung in to play his last five holes in even par in a round of a one-under par 70 for a one-under tally.
It left Harrington, in just his fourth event this year, right on the cut mark of one under par in the Euro 6m Rolex Series event being held on the Renaissance course to the east of Edinburgh.
Aussie Lucas Herbert, winner earlier this year of the Dubai Desert Classic, birdied four holes in succession early his round in posting five-under 66 to move to one clear of the field at 11-under par.
Herbert, 24 is seeking to end a 25-year ‘Down Under’ victory drought in the Scottish Open after SKY Sports Wayne ‘Radar’ Riley, who walked the course commentating on Herbert’s round, won the event in 1995 at Carnoustie.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie ended a 620 European Tour event career noticeably suffering with back pain that has dogged his career over the past few years to post a 79 for a 10-over tally.
And one of those singing the praise of the Scot was Harrington, who won golf’s oldest major in 2007 on the first occasion The Open was held at Carnoustie since Lawrie’s 1999 Open triumph.
“It is quite remarkable 620 events and a lot of golf playing every year and for the most part, playing injury-free,” said Harrington.
“So, it’s very impressive and Paul’s been a great guy out here. He’s a true Scot. A straight forward guy that doesn’t mince his words as he will let you know how he feels but a good guy to have been out here on the tour.
“He’s been a great player and he wouldn’t want to be the guy you would want to come down the stretch with. He’s just very good under pressure and that is something that has been underrated about Paul Lawrie.
“If I was coming down the last few holes up against him, he could hit the shots required under pressure and he’s proved that all the time. That was his great ability, and as much as he won tournaments, he played good golf.
“That is what will stand out in my mind but then a good guy off the golf course, and a good guy for a bit of banter, as well. If you wanted to have a bit of a debate, then Paul Lawrie is a good man to go to.”
Lawrie had surprised even the European Tour with his announcement on Thursday he was quitting the main tour, and he spoke of the pain he endured even getting out of bed for his last main tour round.
“When I turned pro I never thought I would be playing any European Tour events, never mind 620,” said Lawrie.
“So, it’s lovely but days like today tell me that I’ve done the right thing as my back was really, really sore so it’s perfect timing to leave and I’ve now got the winter to get my back sorted out and get back to some fitness.
“I just played very poorly out there today and had woken-up this morning with my back sore and we get to a certain age when that’s going to happen every now and then and you’re going to have days where it doesn’t matter how many pain-killers you have as my back is just sore.
“But, hey, it doesn’t matter because on a day like today it’s immaterial. I’m just delighted I have been able to play for such a long time as 620 events is a lot of golf tournaments, I feel though there’s others who have played more.”
Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell’s wretched post lockdown season continues in missing a sixth halfway cut in succession.
McDowell played superbly on day one scrambling well after a number of errant drives to post a two-under par 69 but it caught up with him on day two in managing two birdies but also dropping five shots in a three-over par 74.
And G Mac’s disappointment was no more obvious in three-putting his last hole to see him finish one shot outside the eventual even par cut-off mark.
McDowell had missed the last three cuts to end the 2019/20 PGA Tour year and has now missed the next three, the opening two events of the 2020/21 PGA season and now at the Scottish.
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