A handy 68 leaves former Open winner Harrington in with a chance of winning the elder lemons’ version and he sits T16 place, just five shots off the pace being set by Steven Alker at The Senior Open Presented by Rolex.
At 51, Harrington is a young guy on the Champions Tour and defending champion, Darren Clarke, is still there too alongside Lough Erne’s Damian Mooney who impressively shot a second round 74 to add to his opening 73 and he and Clarke are at 5-over par in T59 place, probably a little far back to make a charge over the weekend.
Harrington though could easily follow Clarke to make it back to back Irish winners if his game comes on fire and said: “It was nice to make an eagle down the last and get something out of the round. It would have been very frustrating obviously just to shoot one under. Certainly is a day that I rue that I didn’t shoot eight under. But you know, maybe there’s one on the weekend. I certainly made a lot of tired decisions the first day and some more today, so that worries me. I need to recover for the next two days.
“I’ve had a long couple of weeks. It’s not just playing all the rounds. When you’re playing in a major, you’re trying that little bit harder. You’re grinding that little bit more. I was doing quite nicely in Scotland, so also, again, you put that much more effort in, a bit more tension in your body, let’s say. So there were two long working weeks. The weather was tough enough. The wind was tough enough. I would say I could see it today, just got a little bit agitated on 16, and just made some really poor decisions,” he added.
At the top, Steven Alker cut through the wind to lead at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club where the absence of rain did not make the task facing the 144-strong field any easier than the tough opening round, however New Zealand’s Alker carded an impressive three under par round of 68 – which included just one dropped shot – to reach four under par and lead by one from Germany’s Alex Cejka.
Alker, the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Standings winner, has only finished outside the top ten twice in his eight Senior Major appearances to date, as well as winning last year’s Senior PGA Championship and finishing in a tie for third in The Senior Open at Gleneagles, his first appearance in the event.
Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon, making his debut Senior Major appearance, sits in third place on two under par after matching the Kiwi’s round of 68, while countryman Paul Lawrie, Fijian Vijay Singh, Denmark’s Anders Hansen and 2016 Senior Open Champion Paul Broadhurst share fourth on one under and complete the group of seven players in the red figures.
Bernhard Langer, the 46-time PGA TOUR Champions winner who won both previous editions of The Senior Open in South Wales, cancelled out his opening two over par 73 with a two under 69 to sit in a tie for eighth alongside seven others including fellow past champion Miguel Ángel Jiménez, 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie and Spain’s Santiago Luna, who posted the low round of the day, an impressive four under 67.