Local favorite Padraig Harrington mounted a second round charge at the European PGA Tour's 2007 Irish Open, firing a 4-under-par 68 to sit one back of the lead held by Sweden's Peter Hanson.
Harrington was 1-over after first round play at the Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort in County Limerick.
But two early birdies on the front nine today gave him a jolt of momentum. He finished his round with five birdies and one bogey, on the par-5 18th.
Harrington's second round charge today was suggested by the way he closed out his first round, holing out two long putts for par (during a round where he suffered three three-putt holes).
"At least I kept my score as it was and 73 is well in there," he told reporters yesterday. "You know, keep playing the same way over the next couple of days and things will even themselves out I'm sure and I'll make a few more birdies than I made today."
Hanson shout a first round 68, including four birdies and no bogeys. Through early action today, he is at even par.
South Africa's James Kingston is also at 3-under, tied with Harrington.
A group that includes Simon Wakefield and Joakim Backstrom is tied at 2-under par.
Lee Westwood, a winner last week in Spain, and another local favorite, Paul McGinley, are struggling, each at +1 for the tournament.
England's Simon Dyson, who had a share of the leading going into today's second round, shot an abysmal 78 and is now at 2-over-par. Dyson's struggles led to six bogeys and no birdies.
May 18, 2007
With stellar play on the back nine at Royal Birkdale, Padraig Harrington shot a 69 in the final round to earn a four-shot victory and become Europe's first back-to-back British Open champion in more than a century. He earned nearly $1.5 million and climbed to No. 3 in the world rankings. "I'm really thrilled with the way I felt today on the golf course," Harrington said. "I hit the ball as pure as I could and just felt really good."
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