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Padraig Harrington powers to 5-shot lead at U.S. Senior Open

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BETHLEHAM, Pennsylvania. Padraig Harrington finally knows what it’s like to win on the golf course, and it puts the Irishman on the cusp of a US Senior Open title.

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Harrington hit both pars 5-for-two, hitting a 5-wood 7-foot on the 608-yard 12th hole in Socon Valley, and his 5-66 set him up for a five-hole lead ahead of the final round of the Senior Open. .

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Starting the third round with a one-shot lead over Whistling Streets Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, Harrington hit the first two holes and continued on his way.

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He was 12th under 201, five shots ahead of former US Senior Open champion Gene Sauers, who hit the final two holes with a 68; and PGA Tour Champions rookie Rob Labritz (69).

“When you have that kind of leadership — not even in a perfect world, but in a dreamland — you think you will go out there, play well and run away with it, which is quite possible,” Harrington said. “I could play well tomorrow and have a nice comfortable day. Tomorrow I can play average and someone will have to reach out to me. Or tomorrow I can play badly and I will still have a chance.

“Basically I gave myself a lot of hands to win this.”

Stricker couldn’t keep up with the starting bird and on par 5 the winning US Ryder Cup captain really lost ground.

Harrington drilled through the metal of the 25-foot fairway on the sixth hole for 568 yards while Stricker hit a tree and had to throw the shavings under the branches. he missed the green and made a ghost. It was a two-hit swing with Harrington hitting two hits or a birdie with four hits to spare.

And then on the 12th, Harrington blew his 5cc wood over the corner of the rough and hit a pin stuck on the left side. Stricker’s wedge went right through the green, his downhill chip was too strong, and he made another ghost. It turned out to be a three-hit swing as Harrington scored an eagle putt.

Harrington, who turned 50 last August and is playing in the US Senior Open for the first time, has extended his lead to nine shots. He had two ghosts on the last four holes, his first missed shots since the first round.

Full results at US Senior Open

Otherwise, it was a pure power show, even for those over 50. The way he swung hard during rehearsal swings, reminiscent of Bryson DeChambeau, showed how much Harrington emphasized speed in his swing in order to go more distance.

“The padraig is tearing it up,” Sauers said. “He plays the 6,500 yard golf course and I play the 7,500 yard golf course.”

Harrington has never been this good in his prime, relying on clean hitting and a lot of tenacity to win the British Open in the following years (2007-08) and the 2008 PGA Championship in the Oakland Hills.

Two-time US Open champion Ernie Els scored 67 points and was seven shots behind.

“He’s got a lot of length here,” Els said of Harrington. “He has a lot of length here. He is probably the longest off Champions Tour. When he has everything under control, like this week, you need to be on the lookout. Nice to see. He plays with great freedom.”

Stricker never found his putting shot all day and hit 73, leaving himself for eight shots along with Steven Alker and 68-year-old Jay Haas, who each had 71 shots.

“It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind today,” Stricker said. “No. 6 somehow jumped up and got me again today. I hit a nice 3-tree. I thought I could cover that tree on the corner and rattled there and threw it into the woods and ended up made a scarecrow there when you’re trying to get an opportunity for a bird there.

“And just sometimes sloppy acting,” he said. “I didn’t do any punches, I didn’t raise and lower. I thought I made it a little stronger today and I just made too many mistakes.”


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