Padraig Harrington was handed little by way of favours some three months after a similar shutout when defending his Carnoustie Open Championship title.
Harrington posted a second-round level par 72 to remain at three-under which sees him trailing six shots behind the leading duo of Dane Lucas Berregaard (65) and Italian Andrea Pavan (63), heading to day three of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Double defending Dunhill champion, Tyrrell Hatton (66) is among three players in third spot at eight-under par and with last week’s victorious Ryder Cup rookie now 55-under par for his last 10 rounds of the Dunhill event.
And Hatton has both Tiger Woods and Ernie Els in his sights heading to a hopeful third straight success in Scotland.
Woods won three WGC – AMEX Championships from 2005 to 2007 while Els captured three straight Heineken Classic titles from 2002 to 2004 and with both events European Tour counting.
And after the excitement of last week’s Ryder Cup triumph and also the agony of sending a Kingsbarns spectator to hospital on Thursday, Hatton seems more relaxed heading to the final two rounds on the famed Old Course at St. Andrews.
“You’ve got so much adrenaline and such an atmosphere to play in, and then this week is obviously the either end of the scale with obviously the crowds aren’t so big here,” he said.
“It’s a much more relaxed style of golf. We’re playing with the amateurs, and we have a good time out there, and that’s what this week’s all about,” he added.
“Also, we got Carnoustie on a nice day today, which helps a lot. This is the toughest out of the three. Especially when it blows, so we’re all fortunate to get pretty calm conditions.”
Harrington’s Carnoustie effort included four birdies but just as many bogeys, including bogeying the par-3 16th as he had done on day one of this year’s Open.
“It’s funny as I played better in the windy conditions yesterday at Kingsbarns and just seemed to struggle in today’s calmer weather here at Carnoustie,” he said.
“I bogeyed the first which always isn’t a nice start but turned that around with birdies at two and three but gave one back there on four.”
“So, as I’ve said before, just because you have won on a golf course it doesn’t mean you can breathe any easier going back as the golf course is not going to hand you any favours.”
“Every time I play Carnoustie, I do so with a bit of trepidation and it was the same today. I look at the leaderboard and see that I’m six back so with two rounds to play there is still everything to play for, and the good aspect of my game is that my iron-play continues to be solid.”
Paul McGinley had raced to four-under thanks to birdies at 12 and 13 while he eagled the par-5 14th only to give two shots back with bogeys on 17 and 18.
McGinley heads to St. Andrews sharing 30th place on two-under.
Rookie pro, Robin Dawson is right on Saturday’s projected third round cut-off mark of level par in shooting a 70 at Kingsbarns.
But the remaining four Irish have much to do with Michael Hoey (72, Kingsbarns Links) at two-over par, Shane Lowry (75, Carnoustie), Graeme McDowell (72, Carnoustie) at five-over and Paul Dunne (73, Kingsbarns) well down the board on seven-over.