Harrington falls eight off US Senior Open pace

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Padraig Harrington (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

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A wretched front nine cost Pádraig Harrington as he fell eight shots off the pace at the halfway stage of the US Senior Open in Newport Country Club.

Harrington dropped four shots in as many holes just before the turn with bogeys on six and seven before he double bogeyed the ninth to turn in 38. An improved back nine of seven pars and two birdies on 10 and 17 saw him settle for a one-over 71 but now on three-under, he has a mountain to climb to catch Hiroyuki Fujita.

Fujita leads by one shot from Richard Green on eleven-under-par with Steve Stricker and Richard Bland in close pursuit on eight-under.

Meanwhile, Frank Bensel Jr. made history after carding back-to-back holes in one during his second round

Bensel carded a hole-in-one on the 184-yard fourth before acing the fifth from 203 yards. He still carded a four-over 74  to miss the cut on nine-over after following up his double ace with four successive bogeys.

“I’ve played a lot of golf in my life, and just to see a hole-in-one in a tournament is pretty rare. For me to have that, it was great. I’m out here trying to play well and make the cut, and at the time, it was pretty important for me to do that,” explained Bensel Jr.

“So the first one was great, so that got me under par for the day. And then the second one, I just couldn’t believe it. To even think that that could happen was amazing.

“Hit the ball kind of in the right place, and then it just started rolling. I was kidding around, and I was like, okay, now let’s go for another one, and it happened to go in. Everybody just couldn’t believe it. We all went nuts.

“I’ve got a lot of family and friends here and they were all going crazy, and the guys I played with, same thing, they couldn’t believe it. It was amazing.”

Darren Clarke had a charge going when he climbed to five-under through sixteen holes of his second round but a disastrous finish saw him tumble back to one-under after he triple bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed the last.

Milltown amateur Jody Fanagan missed the cut after back to back rounds of 77.

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