A bogey free 68 saw Pádraig Harrington move three shots clear at the halfway stage of the Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship as he looks for his second senior major title.
Harrington leads on twelve-under-par from Katsumasa Miyamoto in Fields Ranch with Champions Tour debutant Stewart Cink in third on eight-under.
The three-time major champion is yet to drop a shot through 36 holes and it was three birdies in five holes before the turn which kickstarted his round. Harrington was solid coming home with a birdie two on the par-3 8th (his 17th) enough to stretch his lead out to three shots and put clear daylight between himself and the field.
Despite his commanding position, the Dubliner was slightly disappointed he wasn’t further ahead.
“I’m happy to be where I am. I feel I kind of missed a chance today. When you’re going out for your second round and you’re still on top of the leaderboard and you’re hoping you can shoot a low one and get away from ’em. Hoping I could go out there and shoot another but another 8-under par and get to 16- and all of a sudden try and get away from the field. When you’re leading that’s the best thing to do.
“It didn’t play like that. It was a bit constrained, I would say. Yesterday was a very easy 64. Today was a harder fought 68.”
This is Harrington’s third major championship in a row having played the Regions Tradition a fortnight ago and played all four rounds of the PGA Championship last week and his pair of clean cards so far this week suggest his fitness levels are still coping with the hectic schedule.
“You know, there is a lot of danger out there, but sometimes — like I hit my first three tee shots down the left rough because there’s hazards down the right. That’s what you do when you’re leading the tournament. You kind of got to get away from that as well.
“As I said, I needed to — it would have been better if I went out there trying to — you know, it’s hard to do, but you want to be a little bit freer and take a few more chances. But sometimes when you’re leading you just get a little bit cautious. That’s why, I suppose it happens all the time in golf, it’s very, very difficult for a leader to move away from the field. It’s easy for the field to chase ’em down. Because there’s a bit of freedom. They have nothing to lose.
“So obviously I have another 36 holes of that coming up, so it’s going to be a long weekend for me.”
2011 Open champion and current Senior Open champion Darren Clarke is six shots back on six-under after a second round of 69 and he shares fifth place.
The Dungannon man hasn’t had his best stuff so far as he looks to chase down his former Ryder Cup teammate.
“Yesterday I didn’t play great and then finished off really strongly. Today I played nicely all day. Kept giving myself chances on the back nine there. Then made a poor swing into 16. Completely misjudged the shot into 17. So you make two late bogeys like that that’s a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. But at least I birdied the last. 6-under, pretty decent start. All depends what Padraig does today. After that phenomenal round he had yesterday if he does another one of those he’s going to be a tough guy to catch. But 6-under’s not bad.”
Paul McGinley missed the cut on six-over-par.
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