SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As Phil Mickelson heads to the back nine, Padraig Harrington eagled the 15th hole to pull within three strokes of the leader.
Harrington, who started the final round nine shots off the pace, hit his drive 333 yards at the par 5, He had 245 yards to the pin on the island green and put his approach 9 feet away for the eagle.
Harrington, who is making his debut in Phoenix, then proceeded to endear himself to the crowd at the 16th hole when the Irishman started kicking official Super Bowl footballs into the stands.
His caddy, who was serving as the holder for the first -- which was field goal style -- did his best Lucy imitation, pulling the football away when Charlie Brown, err, Harrington ran up to kick it.
Harrington did manage to put the second attempt in the grandstands, and he drop-kicked several more into the crowd. As the fans chanted "Ole, Ole, Ole," though, Harrington missed the 16-footer for birdie. He then converted from 4 feet for par to stay within three of Mickelson.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hunter Mahan and Padraig Harrington are feeding off each other during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Harrington just bounced back from his lone bogey of the day with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 13th. His seventh birdie has moved the Irishman into sole possession of second place at 14 under, five strokes behind Phil Mickelson.
Harrington is playing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the first time.
Mahan is among the group at 13 under along with Troy Mattesson, Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley. The 2010 Waste Management Phoenix Open champ has made five birdies -- and the last, which at the 13th hole, was particularly creative after he drove under a cactus branch and had to putt lefthanded back into the fairway left-handed, then holed a bunker shot.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson quickly shook off that double bogey he made on the 18th hole Friday with a 20-footer for birdie on his first hole of the third round.
So Mickelson is now 18 under and owning a five-stroke lead but the rest of the leaderboard is quickly changing. Padraig Harrington is currently his nearest challenger after making the turn in 30 with five birdies on the front nine, including three straight to open the round.
Troy Matteson and Robert Garrigus, who lives about 25 minutes away from Scottsdale, both birdied the third and fourth holes to get into a big group at 12 under. Also at that number are Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedker, Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas, who three-putted from the fringe at the first hole.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Padraig Harrington had never teed it up in the Waste Management Phoenix Open before Thursday.
The Irishman wanted to come play at TPC Scottsdale, though, because he liked the niche the tournament had created for itself and the way it celebrated the fans. Harrington certainly gave the crowd something to cheer, too, as he made seven birdies on the way to a 64 that left him tied for second, four shots off the pace set by two-time champ Phil Mickelson.
"It's a nice score, obviously, 7 under par," Harrington said. "It's a little bit behind Phil but still a nice score in itself. I pretty much got the most out of the round for the first 15 holes and then had three chances the last three holes and didn't hole the putts. But overall I've got a good feeling about it."
Harrington may rue those three misses from inside 20 feet but considering he had never played the course before Monday, he couldn't be too disappointed. The three-time major champion hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation while using 25 putts.
"I know there's going to be a couple of errors here and there," he said. "Hopefully, as I said, I can keep making enough birdies to counteract that."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Padraig Harrington is the inveterate tinkerer. In fact, the Irishman says he would have given up golf a long time ago if he couldn't make changes to his game.
"The only thing I know is to keep evolving," Harrington explained.
The most recent offseason saw him consult a team of eye specialists because he lost confidence in his ability to read greens. Harrington started second-guess himself and become tentative, as a result.
The stats show perception was reality. He ranked 107th in strokes-gained putting on TOUR last year down from 46th in 2011, 47th in '10 and 25th in 2009.
So Harrington, who has had four laser surgeries, came to Arizona to make his 2013 PGA TOUR debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open sporting glasses that he says have given him better than 20-20 vision. The tournament is the first of four straight for him.
"I'm perfectly fine in terms of what I can see," Harrington said.
"These make it better, but really I have astigmatism like a lot of
people. I grew up with a bias to reading putts right to left, so if I
saw an eight-foot putt that was straight, as a kid, I'd aim right half.
That's where I would see it.
"For the last number of years, if I saw that same eight-footer, I'd actually look at it left half. Now, that's just how my eyes have changed. I was used to it for 20 years of my life having a right-to-left bias, now I have a little bit of a left-to-right bias."
Hence, the glasses, two different pairs, in fact, which he says also help reduce eye fatigue. Harrington likely won't wear them in competition, although one pair did make it through his practice round on Tuesday at TPC Scottsdale.
Then Harrington, who says his eyes are likely too dry for contact lenses, went to the range and started hitting wedges. "I could have been sowing potatoes after a while in the divots I was taking," he said with a wry smile.
Harrington has also been doing various eye exercises. He's changed his putting routine, as well.
"It's kind of the way these days," he said. "You know, you're looking
for specialists in every area of the game, whether it's short game
specialists, putting, long game coach, psychology, everything is par for
the modern game, and this is just I suppose another little addition.
We'll wait and see how it goes.
"But certainly I didn't putt very well last year, and I needed to do something about it. So far, so good."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Padraig Harrington, the inveterate tinker, will be looking to break a victory drought that stretches back to his double-major season in 2008. He's trending in the right direction with a scoring average that improved from 88th to 13th at 69.736 and two top 10s in majors last year.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Harrington fired a 61 in the first round of the Transitions Championship last year. It was the Irishman's lowest on the PGA TOUR by three strokes -- but he couldn't sustain the momentum and ended up tied for 20th. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: One of my great memories this year was watching Padraig Harrington shoot 61 in the opening round of Transitions. That was his only score in the 60s that week and eventually finished 20th. Harrington struggled with consistency but found some answers in winning the PGA Grand Slam Of Golf in October. Padraig is one of the harder workers on TOUR. You always see him working on the range. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Tough to get excited about 41-year-old internationals that haven't committed to more than 18 events per season in three years. However, he logged a career-high 11 top 20s in 2012, so we can't rule out a second wind. Posted top 10s in the Masters and U.S. Open, tournaments for which he remains eligible in 2013. The moral of the story is that he's solid if not above-average value across the board. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-4th||U.S. Open|
|By the Numbers Starts: 18 Cuts made: 16 Rounds played: 63 Top-10 finishes: 3 Money List rank: 53rd||TOUR ranking Driving distance: 57th Driving accuracy: 120th Greens in regulation: 161st Strokes gained-putting: 107th Scoring average: 13th|
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Padraig Harrington in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
To promote this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, Y.E. Yang and several other players gathered at the top of Victoria Peak, a mountain on the western part of the island, to hit shots into the stratosphere.
The views were spectacular and Yang tweeted several photos. In one, he posed with two other well-known players -- one of whom is participating in "Movember," a charity where men grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men's health.
"Guess who these guys are," Yang tweeted. "You'll never know who the guy with the 'stache is.'
For the record, the Fu Manchu belongs to three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – It was a week that started out promising. Then turned nightmarish. Then ended on a positive note.
Now it becomes a waiting game for Padraig Harrington.
European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal will announce his two captain’s picks on Monday at 7 a.m. ET. Harrington, who has played in the last six Ryder Cups, did not automatically qualify for the European team, so he will have to rely on a pick in order to play in next month’s Ryder Cup at Medinah.
“It’s hard to talk about it at this moment,” Harrington said. “Obviously there will be a lot more clarity tomorrow.”
Harrington was the first-round leader after shooting a 7-under 64. Afterward, Olazabal, competing at this week’s European Tour event, said Harrington would need to win The Barclays to enhance his chances of being a pick.
But Harrington struggled in the middle two rounds, shooting a pair of 4-over 75s. Having shot 29 on the back nine of the Bethpage State Park Black Course on Thursday, Harrington shot 40 and 39 in the next two rounds.
On Sunday, he was a bogey-free 1 under on the back nine en route to his 68. Starting the week 62nd in FedExCup points, Harrington was projected to 49th.
“I’m very happy with where I am with my game,” Harrington said.
He also said he’s comfortable with his relationship with Olazabal, despite any past differences they may have.
“I have a better relationship than you think with him,” Harrington said. “Even if I had no relationship, he still wants to pick the 12 best guys.”
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – The nightmarish second round for Padraig Harrington has ended. And if he doesn’t crank it back up over the weekend, so has his Ryder Cup hopes.
Harrington, starting his round off the 10th tee, bogeyed his first three holes and added two more before making the turn. He shot 40 on Bethpage Black’s final nine holes after shooting 29 – with six birdies -- in the same stretch on Thursday.
Harrington settled down after the turn, putting together a string of pars before making his lone birdie of the day at the par-5 seventh. That leaves him at 3 under for the tournament, five shots off the lead.
The Irishman’s accuracy failed him Friday, as he missed six fairways and eight greens in regulation after missing just one fairway and two greens in the opening round.
European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal said Thursday that Harrington would need to win The Barclays in order to have any hope of being a captain’s pick for next month’s Ryder Cup at Medinah.