The Loop

Fields: Harrington Sets Sight on Another Major

August 10, 2008

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Can Padraig Harrington win back-to-back major championships? His chances at the 90th PGA Championship sure were a lot better late Sunday morning than when storms halted play Saturday afternoon.

The Irishman was five-over through eight holes on the South course at Oakland Hills CC when play was called Saturday, but he promptly birdied the ninth when the third round resumed and then shot a back-nine 32, spoiled only by a bogey on No. 18, to shoot a 66 in cool, breezy conditions and move to one-over 211.

He will start the final round only three strokes behind leader Ben Curtis, who shot 68 for two-under 208.

"You don't know what is going to happen in the afternoon," said Harrington, who got up at 4:30 a.m. for the early resumption of play. "I [came from six back] in the British Open in 2007, and as long as there are not too many bodies ahead of you, you can make up quite a big amount in the last round of a major."

Harrington got his wish. Only Curtis, J.B. Holmes (209) and Henrik Stenson (209) are ahead of him with 18 holes to play. His opponent in the 2007 Open playoff, Sergio Garcia, and Charlie Wi also are at one-over.

Friday afternoon, Harrington sounded like a weary golfer as he described his struggles to keep his focus on the course. He still professed to being less than super-sharp Sunday, but was hoping to turn things around. "[I'm] not anywhere near where I could be," he said of his mindset, "but who knows? Last round of a major, you don't know. I keep approaching every shot hopeful that it will click into place. I am not 100 percent, but a couple of things go your way, and you don't need to be 100 percent. I am disappointed because I feel I have left many shots out there over three days, but that doesn't matter if I am in the hunt with nine holes to go this afternoon."

A victory would put Harrington in elite company. Only Walter Hagen (1924), Nick Price (1994) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2006) have won the British Open and PGA Championship in the same year.

-- Bill Fields