Sure, Padraig Harrington carded three bogeys en route to his 65 in Saturday’s third round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. But his aggressive play also brought forth eight birdies. So, although he limited his bogeys to just two in Sunday’s final round, he finished with 69 as he could only manage three birdies.
Harrington, who began the final round three strokes off the lead, finished in joint-11th place at 10-under-par 270 (69-67-65-69). Marc Leishman shot 266 for the victory.
River Highlands posed a different test, a sort of “come hither” challenge for Harrington, after the previous week’s U.S. Open.
“I’m struggling to play any conservative shots at all out there,” Harrington said of River Highlands. “If you hit a good shot here, you can hit it close and you’re drawn into going at every single pin because of that. And there are some tight pins out there. You know, you can short side yourself easy enough. But I think coming off such firm greens last week when there were certain pin positions you just couldn’t get close to, this week you always feel like you have an opportunity.”
After a Saturday round of 77 that “featured” five 3-putt odysseys, and seemingly playing for a respectable finish, Paul McGinley really had nothing to lose when he teed off in Sunday’s final round of the BMW International at Gut Lärchenhof in Cologne, Germany. Without the burden of needing to play conservatively, McGinley fired 66, low round of the day and was left to ruminate on his fortune had he only shot 75 or even 76 on Saturday.
He finished 72 holes, one stroke off the low number of 277 established by Marcus Fraser and Danny Willett (Willett won the playoff). In so doing, McGinley continues a remarkable renaissance that has resulted in three top-10 finishes in his last four tournaments.
He showed that he meant business from the outset in Germany, shooting 65 on Thursday, benefiting from five birdies, one eagle and no bogeys. He was still only two strokes off the lead after a second-round 70.
McGinley’s putter betrayed him on Saturday, however. The birdie he recorded at the first hole would be the last to grace his scorecard, which fell prey to six bogeys before he called it a day.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had five 3-putts in a round of golf in my life before,” McGinley said. “I lost my speed on the greens and lost my confidence.”
A younger player might have lost heart, but McGinley collected his thoughts and resumed play on Saturday with a resolve that resulted in seven birdies against just one bogey. He shared third place with two others.
“I had a good think about my putting last night,” McGinley said. “[The greens] were not as dry as they were yesterday and when there’s a bit of moisture on them, they run a bit smoother. But that was a good reaction today to come back and shoot the score I did today, so I’m pleased.”
McGinley has a lot to be excited about as his game is suddenly top-shelf with the Irish Open looming at Portrush this week.
“It’s a real thrill to be playing good golf again and to be back up at the right end of the leaderboard,” McGinley said. “It’s been a few barren years and it’s a real thrill and a lot of excitement. It’s good to go [to Portrush] in good form. I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of my favorite golf courses in the whole world.”
Damien McGrane and Simon Thornton also tuned up for Portrush with 72 holes in Germany. McGrane’s 287 (76-66-73-72) was good for a share of 44th place, while Thornton’s 290 (71-72-74-73) entitled him to joint-54th place.
McGrane bungled his chance for a top-20 finish when he lost five strokes to par over the final three holes on the front nine on Sunday. That tarnished an otherwise fine round in which he managed five birdies.
EGOLF PROFESSIONAL TOUR
Seamus Power of Waterford won for the second time this year on this feeder circuit when he captured the Spring Creek Classic in Gordonsville, Va. He overcame three early bogeys in the third and final round to birdie seven of his 11 final holes and finish five strokes clear of his nearest pursuer.
Those three bogeys were the first that Power, an East Tennessee State grad, had suffered in this event. He shot 67 and 64 over the first 36 holes, amassing nine birdies and one eagle, to enter the final round tied for the lead.
Power was still down by two strokes early on the back nine when his playing partner, Anthony Mitchell, cratered. While Power was racking up the birdies, Mitchell worked out four bogeys and a triple bogey at 17.
A rain delay also factored into the equation, as play was suspended for just over two hours with Power’s group on 15. When play resumed, Power hadn’t lost his edge, and he continued to drain putts to finish with 66 for the round and 197, 16 strokes under par, for the tournament.
“Last year, I learned a lot,” Power said. “I was trying to do too much at times, thinking everyone else was a lot better than they actually were. I found myself trying to birdie every hole and trying to keep up, whereas this year I’ve had more patience with myself.
“I knew I had plenty of holes left after those bogeys, and that I just had to stay patient early on. I stayed within myself and later found myself walking down 18 fairway with six birdies in my last 10 holes. That was a pretty cool feeling, when you think about it. It’s always nice when you can rally like that to win.”
Power pocketed $15,000 for his victory and stands ninth on the Tour’s money list for this year with $36,768 earned in nine events. Drew Weaver leads the pack with $77,813.
Waterford’s Barry O’Neill got a share of 31st place in the Texas Honing Open at the Sterling Country Club in Houston. Consistency enabled him to finish at even par-288 for the event, having shot rounds of 73, 72, 70 and 73. Nine strokes separated him from the winning score posted by Anthony Broussard. O’Neill earned $1,349.