Padraig
Padraig Harrington during the Irish Open at Mount Juliet Golf Club, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny last July. INPHO/PETER FITZPATRICK

Bogeys sink rally hopes in Michigan

Six bogeys on Sunday quashed any hopes Padraig Harrington had for a final-round rally in the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. 

Harrington began the final round five strokes behind overnight leader Stephen Ames. He’d combined rounds of 68, 70 and 68, looking especially impressive on the back nine on Saturday. He came in in 32, despite a pair of bogeys. But five birdies, including three on par-3s, provided reason for optimism. 

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That didn’t last long on Sunday as he went out in 37, with three bogeys against a pair of birdies. He also played the back holes in 37 for an aggregate 74, which placed him in a tie for 20th place, lagging champion Steven Alker by 12 strokes. 

A poor second round kept Darren Clarke from providing more of a challenge to Alker. The 74 he hung up on Friday contrasted poorly with the three 68s he posted otherwise. Each of those 68s featured five birdies offset, twice, by two bogeys and, once, by a double bogey. He managed just a lone birdie on Friday against four bogeys. He tied for 14th place, 10 strokes behind Alker. 

Clarke disclosed that he’s been battling nagging ailments during the course of the year.

“Every week, there’s been something wrong with me, all year,” Clarke said. “It’s been my leg, my back, tendonitis this week. It’s been weird for me because I’ve gone through my whole career never being injured. I’ve never been an injured guy. 

“This year for whatever reason, maybe it’s a little bit too much alcohol or getting a little bit too old or whatever, I don’t know. I’ve started feeling a little bit better but my arm is still sore and what have you. Those situations, you just have to keep playing and do as well as you can. It’s been frustrating. I haven’t even managed a top 10 this season.”

Clarke looks to improve in this week’s Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. 

CHALLENGE TOUR

Conor Purcell made a big move up the rankings with a joint-fifth-place finish in the Scottish Challenge at Newmachar in Aberdeen. A second-round 73 blighted an overall impressive turn that left him just four strokes off the low number that led to a playoff. 

Purcell was in contention after opening with 69 but fell backwards on Friday, when six bogeys led to 73. He limited his bogeys to one per round over the weekend as he shot 67 and 68. Four consecutive birdies midway during Saturday’s round were a bright spot. 

Purcell moved up to 43rd place on the Tour’s Road to Mallorca. He began the tournament 127th. Top 15 at season’s end earn European Tour cards for 2023. 

Paul Dunne continued his habit of following a fine first round with less-than-stellar work. Like Purcell, he shot 69 to open but dropped out of the conversation by shooting 74, 73 and 71. He finished the event three strokes over par in 49th place. 

John Murphy just did make the cut after shooting 70 and 73. Weekend rounds of 75 and 74 consigned him to a share of 65th place with those who finished 8-over.

US OPEN QUALIFYING

Graeme McDowell missed out on a spot at Brookline later this month in a final qualifying round. He shot 70 at Royal Oaks Country Club and 66 at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas. That left him a stroke off the number that resulted in a playoff from which two players advanced.