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Padraig Harrington reacted to one record being equalled by matching one of his own at the Portrugal Masters today.

Padraig Harrington reacted to one record being equalled by matching one of his own at the Portrugal Masters today.
The three-time major winner was faced with the daunting prospect of making up 12 shots after rising Italian star Francesco Molinari added a morning 66 to his opening 63 at the Victoria Golf Club in Vilamoura.
Molinari’s fifteen under par at halfway equalled the lowest total of the European Tour season, but despite the wind picking up just as he resumed, Harrington went out and reduced his deficit to only two with a spectacular 62.
The 38-year-old Dubliner even had a putt on the last to lower his all-time best round on the circuit, but on his own admission mishit it from 18 feet.
“Pity I didn’t give it a better run,” he said. “I played the tough holes really well and that gave me the opportunity to shoot a really good score.
“It could even have been the magic number.”
Nobody has ever managed a 59 in Europe.
From joint 32nd place overnight – his first thought was to make sure he made the cut – Harrington goes into the weekend in third spot.
Such has been the birdie barrage so far, though, that there was a chance Molinari would not even stay out in front on his own.
He was joined later when South African Charl Schwartzel had a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th, but then came a closing bogey after an an off-line drive into some thick rough for a second successive 65.
Molinari has an extra reason for wanting to shine this week. He wants to open the gap again between himself and his older brother on the world rankings.
Edoardo, the US Amateur champion in 2005, is top of the second tier Challenge Tour and has improved to 112th. Francesco is currently 70th.
“I need to play well or he will overtake me,” said the 26-year-old. “I’m trying to keep up with him, but it is pretty difficult because he is either winning or finishing second every week.”
After covering the back nine in 31 for the second day running and then adding another birdie at the second when the all-time Tour 36-hole record of 18-under held bt Ernie Els was a possibility, but he played the remaining seven holes in level par.
Even though he felt uncomfortable with his putting, Harrington, in the meantime, also turned in 31, but four successive birdies from the 14th turned it into a special round.
“I changed my putter, which put me off and I’ve not got my confidence back,” he said.
“I spotted I was doing something I don’t normally do and that distracted the hell out of me. I’m also making a few mistakes here and there, but they didn’t cost me today.”

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