Rafa strikes as Pod crashes – again

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On a day when last week’s Albatross Man grabbed the lead in Paris, Padraig Harrington’s nightmare run continued.

On a day when last week’s Albatross Man grabbed the lead at the French Open, luckless Padraig Harrington’s nightmare run of missed cuts continued.
Rafa Echenique, the little-known Argentine whose albatross earned him a surprise second place behind Nick Dougherty in last week’s BMW International Open in Germany, produced some more surprises at Le Golf National, outside Paris, today (Friday) when he swept past a faltering Martin Kaymer with a 4-under 67 to surge into a two-stroke lead at 10-under.
It was another stirring performance, but in truth, his path to the top was made much easier by Kaymer who inexplicably followed his sizzling first round 62 with a second round 72 that lowered his 36-hole total to 8-under and dropped him into a second place tie with England’s Steve Webster (65) and South African young gun Charl Schwartzel (66).
Sweden’s Peter Hanson (70) and Australia’s Richard Green (67) are a shot back in joint 5th place.,
But perhaps the story of the day was the ongoing puzzle that is Harrington, the world’s leading major winner for the past two years.
Harrington, who last played four rounds of an event at the Players Championship in Florida in early May, might be feeling a littler red-faced that Tiger Woods has only missed five cuts in his entire13-year career whereas the Irishman has missed five in a row.
With his Open hat-trick bid less than two weeks away, Harrington’s fate was effectively sealed when he drove out of bounds and ran up a triple-bogey eight at the 14th hole of his second round in the French Open Alstom.
The Dubliner, who finished with a 5 for five over par total, freely conceded on Wednesday that he was running out of time to get his game in good enough shape to triumph again at Turnberry.
Now he has only next week’s Irish PGA championship to find a bit of competitive confidence before heading to Scotland.
Harrington, who last played four rounds of an event at the Players Championship in Florida in early May, left a tournament which at the halfway stage sees Argentina’s Rafa Echenique – last week’s albatross man in Munich – take over at the top of the leaderboard from German Martin Kaymer.
It was more his putting than his triple-bogey eight which troubled the three-time major winner.
“I was never comfortable on the greens all week,” said Harrington, who felt his three-putt bogey at the 13th to drop to two over was his most crucial mistake.
“I’m hoping that’s all it was. I just struggled – just putted terribly and didn’t get any confidence. That’s reflected in the score.
“It showed up the weakness in my putting. I’ve been happy with it and still am physically, but it certainly got on top of me this week and that’s where the focus will be.
“You don’t just click, but I have another week. The last six months the focus has been on my swing and definitely now I will be firmly focused on my previous strength – a good, sharp short game.
“I’m not worried about how hard they set up Turnberry. I will be more worried about how I am – but I can manage any challenge.”
ALL THE SECOND ROUND SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 71):

132 Rafael Echenique (Arg) 65 67
134 Steve Webster 69 65, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 68 66, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 62 72
135 Peter Hanson (Swe) 65 70, Richard Green (Aus) 68 67
136 Paul Waring 66 70, Lee Westwood 68 68
137 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 67 70, Scott Strange (Aus) 65 72, Seve Benson 70 67
138 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) 67 71, Kenneth Ferrie 70 68
139 Daniel Vancsik (Arg) 72 67, Soren Hansen (Den) 68 71, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 67 72, Danny Willett 68 71
140 Magnus A Carlsson (Swe) 69 71, Gareth Maybin 69 71, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 65 75, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 67 73, Robert Rock 70 70, Marc Warren 68 72, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 67 73, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 70, Jamie Donaldson 69 71, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 74 66, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 69 71, Thomas Levet (Fra) 67 73, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 70 70
141 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 71, Hennie Otto (Rsa) 74 67, Anders Hansen (Den) 69 72, James Kingston (Rsa) 71 70, Oliver Wilson 72 69, Graeme Storm 69 72, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 67 74, Shane Lowry 69 72, Paul Lawrie 67 74, Ian Poulter 72 69, Alastair Forsyth 72 69, Barry Lane 70 71, Ross McGowan 69 72
142 Damien McGrane 70 72, Benn Barham 68 74, Jean Van de Velde (Fra) 67 75, John Bickerton 65 77, Paul Nilbrink (Swe) 73 69, Peter Lawrie 71 71, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 70 72, Chapchai Nirat (Tha) 70 72, Sam Little 67 75, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) 70 72, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 68 74, Nick Dougherty 66 76, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind) 69 73, Darren Clarke 73 69, Paul Broadhurst 73 69, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 72 70, Phillip Archer 69 73, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 70 72
143 Gary Orr 73 70, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 73 70, Steven O’Hara 71 72, Mads Vibe-Hastrup (Den) 68 75, Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa) 74 69, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 71 72, Pablo Martin (Spa) 71 72, Colin Montgomerie 69 74, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 75 68, David Horsey 72 71, David Lynn 69 74, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 72 71, Gary Lockerbie 68 75, David Drysdale 67 76, Miguel Angel Martin (Spa) 72 71, Mark Foster 69 74, Philip Golding 71 72
—————–The following players failed to make the cut——————–
144 Richie Ramsay 71 73, Alvaro Velasco (Spa) 69 75, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 72 72, Simon Wakefield 70 74, Simon Khan 71 73, Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 71 73, Michael Jonzon (Swe) 71 73, Markus Brier (Aut) 73 71, Michael Hoey 71 73, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 73 71, Bradley Dredge 73 71
145 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 68 77, Stephen Dodd 70 75, Alexander Noren (Swe) 68 77, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 71 74, Tano Goya (Arg) 72 73, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 75 70, Eduardo Romero (Arg) 75 70
146 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 71 75, Brett Rumford (Aus) 70 76, Federico Cabrera (Arg) 70 76, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 73, Alessandro Tadini (Ita) 70 76, Simon Dyson 73 73, Oliver Fisher 71 75
147 Graeme McDowell 72 75, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 70 77, Daniel Brooks 74 73, Andrew McLardy (Rsa) 72 75, David Dixon 74 73, Richard Finch 72 75, Raul Quiros (Spa) 72 75, Jean-Francois Remesy (Fra) 74 73, Paul McGinley 72 75, Padraig Harrington 72 75
148 Marco Ruiz (Par) 71 77, Lee Slattery 73 75, Phillip Price 74 74, Scott Drummond 72 76, Miles Tunnicliff 71 77
149 Jose-Filipe Lima (Por) 74 75, Taco Remkes (Ned) 70 79, Scott Arnold (Hkg) 71 78
150 Julien Guerrier (Fra) 75 75, Rhys Davies 77 73, Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 76 74
151 Anton Haig (Rsa) 77 74, Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 80 71, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 75 76, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 74 77, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 75 76, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa) 71 80, Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 77 74
152 Mark Brown (Nzl) 79 73, Anthony Snobeck (Fra) 72 80, Cedric Menut (Fra) 69 83, Gregory Havret (Fra) 77 75
153 Stephen Gallacher 74 79, Nicolas Joakimides (Fra) 79 74, Marcus Higley 81 72, Damien Perrier (Fra) 75 78, Robert Dinwiddie 74 79
154 Anthony Kang (USA) 78 76, Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 76 78, Gary Murphy 74 80, Michael Campbell (Nzl) 75 79, Wade

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