Padraig Harrington at The Open 2015: Luck turns along with the wind to put name of two-time winner in the ring

Harrington, who finished six behind the leaders at three under par, won the Open in 2007 and 2008

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The Independent Online

An evening in the company of Arnold Schwarzenegger via the prism of his latest sci-fi franchise, Terminator Genysis, ought to get Padraig Harrington in the mood after the wind blew him back to the fringe of contention at St Andrews.

If he had had to take on the inward nine facing the breeze that was at his back to the turn, he would have been on his way home on Friday night, he said. As it was, fate spun the stiffening breeze through 90 degrees to ease his passage. A 33 coming home to close with a 69 left him on three under par, six behind clubhouse leader Danny Willett.

Harrington, twice a winner of this championship, can smell opportunity, but he knows he needs the wind to do its worst if he is to muscle his way up the leaderboard. With gusts predicted at 40mph on Saturday he might just get the chance to do Arnie justice. 

“We got a good break with the weather today, big break with the weather. Not only did we not have to play in the storm this morning, but when we played the front nine we played it straight downwind every hole, and then the wind changed a little when we came around that turn there, so the back nine, we just played it in a crosswind, so definitely got a good break there.”

Harrington was on the range when the tempest blew in, closing the course for more than three hours. He sought refuge in a tour truck behind the range, stealing an hour’s kip while he was at it, emerging refreshed and with the course softened to perfection before him. Though a bogey at the second took him to one over par, he came back hard over the closing holes with  back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 and another at the last, never a bad thing. “It would be nice to get into contention coming down the stretch and perform. We’ll see what happens.

“No matter what, I’m going to need a big weekend. Obviously the weather will determine quite a lot. But still, 69 is a reasonable return, and certainly after being one over through six holes and not much happening for me, it was quite a good return.”

A feeling and a two-day total shared by Paul Casey after a second round 71. The road back has been long and hard, so a blustery afternoon on the links is OK with Casey. A former world No 3 in another life, Casey arrived at St Andrews with serious momentum. He is among the highest climbers in the world rankings, moving more than 50 spots in the right direction to 24 in the space of six months.

 

Three weeks ago on the PGA tour he lost out in a play-off to Bubba Watson in the Travelers Championship, demonstrating his readiness to compete once more with the best. He said he wasn’t coming here to make up the numbers and in the teeth of quickening winds he set about proving it.

The delayed start meant Casey missed out on the benign morning conditions that might have seen him join in the plunder. It was hard graft in the post noon slot, just as it was on Thursday when he closed with a 70 to finish day one five off the pace.

There was a birdie at the second on Friday and another at the par-five fifth. He gave one back at the third but that is no shame.

None were going to leave this day unscathed. It was more a matter of keeping what you had, and avoiding the potentially ruinous number inherent in holes played badly.

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