Lacklustre finish sees Harrington down the field in UAE

Adam McKendry

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

A disappointing finish saw Pádraig Harrington’s hopes of a weekend push dashed as he could only manage a level-par 72 in his third round at the Ras al Khaimah Championship in the United Arab Emirates.

A rather uneventful round was at least finishing under-par for the former European Ryder Cup captain, whose only scoring holes were birdies at the seventh and 14th, but a mess around the 17th green led to a double-bogey that took him back to where he started the day at five-under for the week.

Now double figures off the lead, Harrington’s hopes at a first win since October 2016 are gone barring one of the greatest golfing comebacks in history, but he could still play his way into another good finish at Al Hamra on the final day.

The 50-year-old hasn’t finished lower than 20th since the Portugal Masters at the tail end of last season, although he would need a big final round in order to continue that run and so far he has failed to find his scoring touch on a course that has proven to have little teeth.

You couldn’t fault his approach play, but Harrington’s putting wasn’t as sharp as it has been in previous weeks, missing four consecutive birdie chances from inside 16-feet from the third to sixth holes before he finally posted a red number with a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-three seventh.

But rather than spark some form with the flat iron, two more birdie chances inside 15-feet came and went on the ninth and 11th before an up-and-down short of the green yielded a birdie on the par-five 14th, but that was as good as it got.

Instead, his round finished on a sour note when, on the par-four 17th, he flew the green with a greenside bunker shot and then failed to make up-and-down at the second attempt, leading to a double-bogey which was compounded when he missed a six-footer for birdie on the 18th that could have at least seen him finish under-par.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Nicolai Højgaard holds the lead with one round to play after five birdies in his final six holes saw him rocket to the top of the leaderboard after tying the low round of the day with an eight-under 64, taking him to 20-under, three clear of Scotland’s David Law.

The 20-year-old holed out from a greenside bunker on the fifth for eagle and added three birdies and two bogeys in his opening 12 holes before he sparked into life late in his round to pull away, the only hole of his final six that he didn’t pick up a shot on being the 15th.

Overnight leader Law led for most of the round after four birdies in his first 11 holes, but he couldn’t find any momentum from then on and, after six straight pars, finished with a frustrating bogey on the par-five 18th to card a three-under 69, but he still sits second at 17-under.

Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen tied Højgaard’s low round of the day, his 64 moving up to third at 16-under, with South Africa’s Oliver Bekker a further shot back after a 66 on day three.

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