By Bernie McGuire at Kingsbarns Links.
Padraig Harrington ignited hopes of an historic third victory, being among just 10 players to break par on an absolutely brutal outing on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Harrington’s a two-time winner of the event and while also one of the best supporters of the event, nothing quite prepared him and his playing partners for the torture test they faced on day two of the $5m tournament.
Harrington’s impressive score of 71 at a very exposed Kingsbarns Links has him placed 10th at four-under and just six shots behind England’s Richard Mansell who posted a 68 at Carnoustie to move two shots clear of the field at 10-under, with Swede Alex Noren adding a 69 at Kingsbarns Links to move into second at eight-under.
Frenchman Romain Langasque, who equalled the Old Course record with a 61 on Thursday, nose-dived under the weight of an 80 to a share of 19th place at three-under.
Harrington’s round was a mix of four birdies and three bogeys, with the reigning US Senior Open champ, and a winner also of two other events this year in the over-50s brigade, displaying all the experience in handling such weather as everyone faced earlier today.
“Yeah, happy with a 71. It was tough out there. The ball really wasn’t going very far so I just had to keep your head in the game all the time,” he said.
“I think like everybody, I made a few mistakes but I also holed a few putts which you need to do on a bad day, so 71 is a good return.
“I didn’t think it wasn’t that windy and it obviously wasn’t cold. So, I think the unusual thing is normally when it’s rainy, we don’t play — the ball surprisingly going nowhere. At the first hole of the day, I had 175 into the 5th and I hit a 4-iron, though I thought was being smart. I thought, I’ll hit 4-irons. I’ll show these boys (smiling) but then we didn’t see it finish. It was 25 yards short. You know, it was a shock.
“I think the rest of the day, you know, you just have to be just — really difficult in terms of you had to keep over-clubbing. On 18, I was hitting wood. Hitting a wood from 180 yards to the front. 192 yards to the pin and I’m hitting a 5-wood. I hit that, it’s 260 in the air.
“Now with two rounds to play, I’m six behind, yeah, I’m in a pretty good place. Doesn’t matter where I am. I’m playing each shot at a time, it’s a cliché, and I am. It’s not like I should be any better and don’t feel like I should be any worse. The leaders will look after themselves. Six shots behind, maybe make some in-roads.”
Harrington is among just two players to have won the Dunhill Links twice, winning the second hosting of the event in 2002, and a tearaway champion by five shots in 2006.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton won back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, so Harrington win would be the first player to capture the event on three occasions.
“I probably need to have a run at some stage over the next 36 holes, I need to have that run. But at least I’m in the position that if I do that run, it counts,” said Harrington as he then made a bee-line for the players lounge and some hot food.
- Full scoring HERE
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