Langer leads in Florida, but Harrington holds firm and Clarke makes a move

Mark McGowan

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Padraig Harrington backed up his opening 67 with a two-under round of 70, while Darren Clarke went two better in the Chubb Classic at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.

With winds gusting up to 25 mph, Harrington opened with a birdie-three but immediately gave the shot back with a five at the next, and he’d trade another birdie and bogey on the front nine to make the turn at level-par for his round. Another bogey at the tenth saw the Dubliner move to plus-figures for the day, and he’d fail to take advantage of the par 5 12th an 15th holes, but did manage a birdie at the par 4 13th.

Level for his round, he’d eagle the par 5 18th to salvage the round, leaving him on -7, tied for eighth, and very much in the mix ahead of Sunday’s final round.

Darren Clarke had a rollercoaster round, carding just seven pars enroute to a four-under 68. Three bogeys in his opening five holes dropped the 2011 Open Champion to +2 for the tournament, but he’d rebound in style with three birdies on the spin to make it back to level par as he began the back nine.

A bogey at the 13th was his only blemish on the way home, but birdies at 10, 15 and 16 had him motoring nicely, and, like Harrington, he’d finish in style with an eagle-three at the last, leaving him on -5 for the tournament and in a tie for 16th place.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer is the tournament leader going into the final round. The German, whose 64 in the opening round was one stroke lower than his age, added a two-under 70 to leave him on -10, one stroke ahead of 2022 Champions Tour money leader Steven Alker, Jerry Kelly, Dicky Pride and Paul Goydos.

Alker’s seven-under round of 65 was the low score of the day, catapulting him up the leaderboard, and he’ll play alongside Langer and Kelly in the final group on Sunday.

“It was tough,” said Langer afterwards. “The wind was gusting anywhere from 10 to 25 miles an hour it seemed, so it was hard to grab the right club at the right time, and challenging pin positions at times. Whenever the wind is blowing that strong and you have a little bit of side spin or something or even straight into the wind, I came up a couple of times short, a couple of times long, and the targets are small here, so it punishes you pretty quick.”


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