Forever the optimist, Pádraig Harrington chirps up when an app on his heavily cracked iPhone shows he has a 79% chance of making the halfway cut at the Horizon Irish Open as he and Tom McKibbin face anxious waits this afternoon.
Both players are sitting on the cut mark at two-under-par after rounds of 69 and 70 respectively on a sweltering Friday morning at the K Club and they hope to keep enjoying the fabulous conditions and jubilant crowds this weekend.
“It really was a great crowd, this is Friday morning I’m on the cut line and they are cheering away. It was nice weather and we did hit some good shots out there, balls spinning back on the greens so there was plenty of excitement between the three of us,” Harrington says after his second round.
“No matter what way it goes if I have a weekend off and it’s nice and sunny that’s not so bad!”
McKibbin was paired alongside Harrington as Irish fans got a glimpse of the present (not quite the past) and the future.
“It was the coolest two days of a tournament, the crowds were amazing and the support they gave, they really know their golf so it has been really cool,” the 20-year-old from Holywood smiles.
Harrington cut a somewhat dejected figure on Thursday evening after an opening 73 left him with an uphill battle just to make the cut following a poor performance on the greens which left him way down the field in putting.
The three-time major champion showed signs of improvement on the greens rolling in a birdie on the tenth, a thirty-three-footer for birdie on 16, before casually birdieing the 18th to make the turn in two-under for the day.
The 2007 Irish Open winner passed up a six-foot birdie chance on the 2nd and a 14-footer on the third before shaving the hole from long range for eagle on 4 for a tap in birdie. A bogey came on the fifth after a missed fairway but he bounced back straight away on the next and made a crucial par save on the seventh.
“It’s never easy playing on the cut line, you can get on it and you can hit a wall, I think I was nearly last in putting yesterday so if I’m going to look at anything it’s that I hit it close all day and couldn’t get it to drop. That’s a lot of shots to make up, I holed some today but also had a lot of chances. I holed a big one on seven so yeah, it was a better day on the greens.”
At the time of writing Harrington and McKibbin are inside the cut line on two-under-par in a share of 56th place as the afternoon wave get underway.
“Three-under par is 35th, we have some chance of missing the cut. It’s tight, it’s very tight on the tour now, nobody blows themselves out of it they all stay in it and it doesn’t take much to be on the cut line and missing the cut,” Harrington explains.
McKibbin dropped two shots late on in his round after moving to four-under-par and while he was disappointed to let a couple of shots slip he hopes to be around for the weekend.
“It was great, really cool, fortunately I have been able to play a few practice rounds with Padraig but to play the first two rounds at the Irish Open with him was pretty special. A lot of the crowd was out watching him and cheering him on so it was a cool couple of days.
“It would mean a lot especially here at the K Club, lovely weather it would be cool to make the cut.”