Date: April 11, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Penalty could haunt Harrington

If Padraig Harrington misses out on a third successive major by a single shot, there is one moment that will be shown over and over again. Harrington heads into the third round of The Masters at Augusta in joint 19th place with Tiger Woods on two under par, seven adrift of Americans Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry. But the Irishman would have been 11th and alongside Phil Mickelson if the wind had not blown his ball three feet on the 15th green of his second round as he prepared for a four-foot birdie attempt. Harrington was not addressing the ball at the time, but he had done previously and so it meant a one-stroke penalty – even though the last time the same thing happened to him he was not punished. “That was in Houston a while ago and at the time the referee ruled that it wasn&apost a penalty,” said the Open and US PGA champion. “I grew up thinking it was, so it was not hard to take and I&aposm pleased that I collected my thoughts and knocked the putt in.” For par rather than birdie, however. Harrington, who had eagled the long 13th to leap back into contention, then bogeyed the 17th for a 73, but said: “Here at Augusta it is not a big deal to be seven behind.” “The trouble with today&aposs round is that it doesn&apost give me much of a leeway.” Cheered by the thought that he was six back at halfway at the PGA last August and won by two, he added: “It is well within me.” “Going out there the next two days anyone can shoot a couple of (low) scores. It has been done – there have been a couple of 65s (Campbell on Thursday, Anthony Kim on Friday) and I certainly think I can play the golf.” “I am not out of it, but I won&apost be able to absorb any more bad luck. If things don&apost go right for me I won&apost be winning.” Campbell added a 70 to stay out in front, but while he played the last eight in two over his Ryder Cup team-mate Perry covered the same stretch in three under to ensure the pair shared the lead at the halfway point as both seek the first major titles of their career. Campbell was runner-up to Shaun Micheel in the 2003 US PGA and third at Augusta three years ago – he was the halfway leader then as well and shot a third-round 75 – while 48-year-old Perry lost a play-off to Mark Brooks in the PGA 13 years ago. A year ago Campbell was not even in the field and said: “I was very, very disappointed. I look forward to coming here probably more so than any event we play all year.” On Perry he commented: “He&aposs an awesome player – one of the best drivers out here, possibly the best. He&aposs definitely going to be tough to beat.” Perry was criticised for not playing The Open at Birkdale last summer and stated: “I told y&aposall I was going to play all four majors this year.” “After the Ryder Cup (in his home state Kentucky) everything is a bonus now, it really is.” “I&aposm burning inside, wanting to kick everybody&aposs butt.” Meanwhile, Woods revealed his annoyance at not making a bigger move in his short answers to all the questions put to him. “Yeah,” was all he said when asked if he got frustrated, if it was a tough day and whether a seven-stroke deficit was retrievable. “Hopefully I&aposve got to play a little bit better than I have, make a few more putts and clean up my round.”