A second round beset by a rain delay cost Padraig Harrington as he fell outside the top-10 at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Duluth, Georgia thanks to a one-over 73 at TPC Sugarloaf.
The Dubliner had positioned himself nicely after an opening round of 69, but as conditions worsened on day two it played havoc with scoring and three bogeys and two birdies saw him slip back to two-under-par for the tournament.
That has Harrington in a share of 13th and six shots off leader David Toms, who took advantage of a late collapse from Ken Duke to open up a two-shot advantage at the top heading into the final round.
He’s not out of contention by a long shot, but Harrington will be aware that he will need to go low on Sunday if he does want to claim his first PGA Tour Champions victory having already come close with a second-placed finish at the Rapiscan Systems Classic.
On this occasion, bogeys at the two par-threes on the front-nine, the second and eighth, saw him turn in one-over after also adding a birdie at the par-five sixth, and although he would get back to level for the day with a birdie at the par-four 13th, he would give it back one hole later and that is where he would finish.
Tough day with a swirling wind. Didn’t get the most out of my play. Shot 73 to be 6 back going in to Sunday. Tied 13th at the Mitsubishi Classic @ChampionsTour pic.twitter.com/R1ywyqTW4R
— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) May 8, 2022
That leaves him playing catch-up to Toms, whose one-under 71 moved him up to eight-under-par for the week and a pair of strokes clear of Duke, who shot a 73 to fall back to six-under but is still his nearest competition.
It could have been much different as Duke actually led by a shot at eight-under standing on the 15th tee, but a calamity on the green that saw him putt off the surface from just 20-feet from the hole and then fail to make up-and-down twice led to a triple-bogey seven.
Toms took advantage with a birdie at the same hole to suddenly open up a three-shot lead, though Duke would respond with a birdie at his closing hole to reduce the gap to two, with five players at four-under-par, including Ernie Els who carded a very impressive 68 on day two that saw him birdie three of his last five holes.
Meanwhile, five birdies and two bogeys was a significant improvement for Darren Clarke, who bettered his round one score by 10 shots as a three-under 69 on Saturday moved him up to four-over-par and into tied-57th going into the final round.
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