Pádraig Harrington moved to within three shots of the lead at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open as he bids to defend a title for the first time on the PGA Tour Champions.
Harrington roared into the mix with a six-under 66 to reach nine-under-par to share fifth place while Miguel Angel Jiménez, Ernie Els and Brett Quigley lead on -12.
“I struck the ball well yesterday, but I really made some bad decisions on the golf course. I was clearly mentally tired from last week, it obviously took more out of me than I suspected. I was better that way today, scored quite well. Had five nice eagle — four nice eagle chances I think during the round, so there was obviously going to be a decent score going off the back of that,” said Harrington who birdied all four par fives and added further birdies on the ninth, sixteenth and eighteenth.
“But it was nice to hole a 20-footer on the last. If I held three shots I suppose it’s reasonable, but no matter what, if I didn’t make those two birdies coming home, I definitely would have been too far back tomorrow.”
The three-time major champion feels he is in prime position to launch an assault on the leaders.
“It’s easier chasing, mentally easier chasing. Clearly I’d rather have the lead and be out in front, but when you’re chasing, nobody really knows — if you go out there and play well, great, and if you don’t, nobody really sees that so much.
“It’s always, it’s a lot less stress being the chaser, but clearly you want to have that lead and have the chances. Like whoever — like if Ernie can get to say 14 under, gives himself so many options to win tomorrow. Like maybe he couldn’t get away — like he could get away with playing average at 14 under and still win the tournament.
“So yeah, you want to be in the lead because it gives you the options to win, but it’s obviously a little bit — it’s always uncomfortable when you’re out in front.”
Darren Clarke is five shots off the pace on seven-under after a three-under 69.