Har­ring­ton shoots 68 to lie two off the pace in Prague

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Padraig Har­ring­ton will start today’s third round of the Czech Masters two shots off the lead as he chases a first win since 2016 – and just his sec­ond on the Euro­pean Tour since 2008 – fol­low­ing a sec­ond round of 68 in Prague.

Har­ring­ton birdied his fi­nal hole at the Al­ba­tross Golf Re­sort to fin­ish on 10-un­der par, two shots adrift of Malaysia’s Gavin Green who will take a slen­der lead into the week­end as the bat­tle for Ry­der Cup places con­tin­ues to sim­mer un­der the sur­face.

Har­ring­ton made a birdie and a bo­gey be­fore a weather de­lay but a stun­ning ap­proach to the 18th moved him back un­der par. Back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth edged the Ir­ish­man fur­ther up the leader­board and he made it to 10-un­der with a 15-foot putt on the ninth green.

As with Har­ring­ton, Green added a sec­ond round of 68 to his open­ing 64 for a half­way to­tal of 12-un­der par and one-shot lead over Den­mark’s Jeff Winther, with Har­ring­ton, Thomas Pi­eters, An­drea Pa­van and Ta­pio Pulkka­nen a shot fur­ther back.

Wild card

Pi­eters needs to rely on a wild card to claim a place in the Euro­pean side which will seek to re­gain the Ry­der Cup in Paris next month, while Eng­land’s Ed­die Pep­perell, who could move into the au­to­matic qual­i­fy­ing places with a win at Al­ba­tross Golf Re­sort, is five off the pace af­ter a 71.

“It’s fun to be leader and it’s been a while since I’ve been in this po­si­tion so I’m go­ing to en­joy it,” Green, who is seek­ing a first Euro­pean Tour ti­tle said. “My dad’s on the bag so we’re go­ing to have a nice din­ner maybe and a good sleep and con­tinue to­mor­row.

“I kept to the same game plan as yes­ter­day, hit­ting the driver ev­ery­where and be­ing pretty ag­gres­sive and I was in the rough a cou­ple of times and the fair­way a cou­ple of times. It’s nice hav­ing wedges into par fours though . . . I con­trolled it well and did pretty well so I’m happy.”

Pi­eters won a record four points on his Ry­der Cup de­but at Hazel­tine in 2016 af­ter be­ing given a wild card by cap­tain Darren Clarke fol­low­ing a runners-up fin­ish in Prague and vic­tory in Den­mark the fol­low­ing week.

“It was ob­vi­ously more dif­fi­cult with the wind today but I didn’t make enough putts,” Pi­eters said af­ter shoot­ing a 70 along­side Har­ring­ton.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: GETTY

Padraig Har­ring­ton: chas­ing first Tour win since 2016.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.