Harrington gamble has Clarke chasing long odds

Padraig Harrington, until last Friday uncertain whether to play in the Turespaña Masters in Madrid, takes a one-stroke lead into the third round. A 64 yesterday for a halfway total of 131, 11 under par, helped to remove any doubt in the 29-year-old Dubliner's mind about whether he made the right decision to return to the Club de Campo course where he won his first European tour title at the 1996 Spanish Open.

Padraig Harrington, until last Friday uncertain whether to play in the Turespaña Masters in Madrid, takes a one-stroke lead into the third round. A 64 yesterday for a halfway total of 131, 11 under par, helped to remove any doubt in the 29-year-old Dubliner's mind about whether he made the right decision to return to the Club de Campo course where he won his first European tour title at the 1996 Spanish Open.

"I've played the last four weeks and I should not really play five in a row," said Harrington, who all summer has been receiving regular treatment from a chiropractor for neck and shoulder trouble. "I certainly intended not to, but because it was the venue I won on I decided to make an exception. So far it's been a good idea."

His playing partner, Darren Clarke, needing to win tomorrow to take back top spot from Lee Westwood on the European Order of Merit, was left five adrift as Harrington followed a back nine 30 with a 15-foot eagle putt on the long fourth. He also shot a second-round 64 four years ago before going on to win by four strokes in what was only the 10th tour event of his career.

But while happy to recall that, Harrington does not want reminding that the last time he had a 64 was in the third round of the Benson and Hedges International at The Belfry in May. That gave him a five-shot lead and he was poised for the £166,660 first prize until it was discovered he had absent-mindedly failed to sign his first-round scorecard. He was disqualified and has not won since.

Hard on his heels this weekend is his Ryder Cup partner Miguel Angel Jimenez, chasing that rare tour feat of victory in the same event three years running. When Colin Montgomerie claimed a hat-trick of Volvo PGA wins in May it was the first time it had been achieved since Nick Faldo lifted the 1991, 1992 and 1993 Irish Opens. Jimenez had no fewer than eight birdies, but also three bogeys for his second successive 66, after witnessing something he had never seen before.

The Spaniard was amazed when his playing partner Ian Woosnam produced first a long putter, then a short one as well from the bag and used both. It did Woosnam, no good. After an opening 76 he dropped further back to seven over before quitting after nine holes with a bad back. "It's a pity, because he's still hitting the ball so well," said Jimenez, who is a shot ahead of third-placed Roger Wessels of South Africa.

In Gainsville, Virginia, Nick Price and Greg Norman took inspiration from Ernie Els to spark an International team revival from 5-0 overnight to 6-4 in the morning four-ball matches in the Presidents Cup, the United States having won all of Thursday's five foursomes. "The spirit was always there," Norman said. "We just had to put together the effort on the golf course."

Zimbabwe's Price and the Australian Norman beat David Duval and Jim Furyk 6 and 5, taking their cue from the words of the world No 2. "Ernie Els gave us all a little speech on the bus," Norman said. "He's too big. You have got to listen to him." The Unites States captain, Ken Venturi, said: "They've played well, but you always seem to go up a notch in desperation."

Madrid Open: Leading second-round scores (GB and Irl unless stated): 131 P Harrington 67 64. 132 M A Jimenez (Sp) 66 66. 133 R Wessels (SA) 68 65. 135 S Luna (Sp) 65 70; P-U Johansson (Swe) 72 63. 136 D Clarke 66 70; A Wall 67 69, J Moseley (Aus) 70 66; P Fulke (Swe) 68 68. 137 G Emerson 67 70; D Gilford 67 70. 138 A Cabrera (Arg) 72 66; P Nyman (Swe) 70 68. 139 P Lonard (Aus) 67 72; P Sjoland (Swe) 71 68; D Smyth 70 69; S Tinning (Den) 69 70; S Webster 71 68. 140 G Owen 70 70; M Gronberg (Swe) 69 71; S Torrance 69 71; R Chapman 70 70; A Hansen (Den) 69 71; M Lafeber (Neth) 70 70.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on