Harrington’s Masters prep is best forgotten

Padraig Harrington enters this week’s Masters at Augusta National off one of his worst rounds as a professional golfer. Situated in eighth place entering the final round of Sunday’s Shell Houston Open, Harrington tumbled to a share of 40th place after shooting 5-over-par 77 on Sunday.

A double-bogey 6 at the third hole was followed by bogey-6 at the fourth, a sequence that was repeated at the sixth and seventh for a loss of six strokes. He played the rest of the round one under par to finish the day at 77. Preceding that were rounds of 69, 69 and 72, which left him 11 strokes off the low number.

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Rory McIlroy didn’t get as much out of Houston as he could have. He missed the cut by just a stroke after firing rounds of 74 and 73.

Perhaps Harrington and McIlroy, as well as Graeme McDowell, will prosper in an environment that seems sure to be focused almost entirely on Tiger Woods as play begins in Augusta on Thursday.