Fast finish gives Harrington share of lead in hat trick bid

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Pádraig Harrington closed with three successive birdies to give his hat trick bid a shot in the arm at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open as he grabbed a share of the lead.

After a slow front nine of seven pars and two birdies on the first and third, Harrington roared home in just 30 strokes with birdies on the tenth and twelfth before putting on a fast finish for a round of 65.

The Hall of Fame golfer shares the lead with Ken Tanigawa and Steven Ames heading into the final round.

“Yeah, both rounds this week I finished strong. It’s been a bit of a surprise. I was a little frustrated probably through nine holes today. My playing partners were going so low, I wasn’t holing the putts. Then I don’t know if I was patient or things happened to go my way, but it was really nice to come home in 5 under,” said Harrington who is the back to back defending champion here.

“This is one of those — there’s obviously a big bunch of people up on the leaderboard, but sometimes you’re three or four shots off the lead, you have a chance going into Sunday, but with so many people on the leaderboard, you really want to be very tightly up there. You want to be if not in the lead, close enough. One of those guys is going to go low tomorrow, so hopefully it will be me.”

Harrington was making his first competitive appearance in almost four weeks after taking some time to rest after the PGA Championship and to prepare for his World Golf Hall of Fame induction which took place last week and he feels the big challenge for him on Sunday will be to maintain focus.

“I had a good week off. You know, I’ve come into this week refreshed, but actually not really as focused as I would like to with my game. Just not game ready. I was poor at times yesterday, I was very poor in the practice rounds and I got gradually better each day. It would be nice if I got better tomorrow, but that doesn’t necessarily work like that. It’s obviously going to be a little bit harder tomorrow when you’re trying harder. We wait and see. I know what I need to do, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow and see what happens.”

Darren Clarke is three-under after a much improved 68.

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