Harrington shoots 68 to lie two off the pace in Prague
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.
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.
Padraig Harrington: chasing first Tour win since 2016.