PADRAIG MOVES TO THE TOP

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Padraig Harrington today carded a superb 68 in miserable conditions to boost his chances of becoming the first home winner of the Irish Open in 25 years.

Padraig Harrington today carded a superb 68 in miserable conditions to boost his chances of becoming the first home winner of the Irish Open in 25 years.
Harrington defied strong, gusting winds at Adare Manor to card five birdies and one bogey and set the clubhouse target at three under par, one ahead of England’s Simon Wakefield.
Tees were brought forward for the second day in succession – this time by 321 yards – and Harrington took advantage with three birdies in his first seven holes after starting from the 10th.
The 35-year-old Dubliner, looking to become the first Irish winner of the title since John O’Leary in 1982, dropped his first shot of the day on the 18th but bounced straight back with a birdie on the first.
He also birdied the fourth but missed good chances on the seventh and ninth, the latter from just three feet, to finish one off the lead held by Sweden’s Peter Hanson, who was yet to begin his second round.
“I played really well and created a lot of chances,” said Harrington. “I didn’t get myself into any bother all day and it’s hard to believe I shot 68 and I’m thinking of what might have been.
“The course is set up very reasonably considering the conditions and on every hole I was thinking about trying to make birdie, rather than yesterday when it was trying to make par.
“I prefer a course like this, the wind doesn’t bother me and I know I have an advantage in that sort of weather. You were worried about getting the ball up in the wind because it could go anywhere, but if you hit a good tee shot you at least had a decent club into the green.
“The course is actually very sheltered, there are few holes where you get the full brunt of the wind. If we were playing any other golf course we’d all be sitting in the clubhouse looking out at it. It’s very playable in extreme weather.”
It is unlikely everyone agreed with Harrington’s assessment of the course, Jeev Milka Singh crashing to an 82 and overnight joint leader Simon Dyson struggling to a 78.
That was 10 shots worse than his first round and left the former Walker Cup star on two over par, six off the lead.
Harrington’s score was the only sub-70 effort so far, although Wales’ Bradley Dredge had managed a 71 to finish alongside Dyson on two over.

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