Padraig Harrington is still well placed in the Irish Open
good for home win
IRISH OPEN - THE STORY SO FAR
PADRAIG HARRINGTON failed to take the field apart in some pretty unfriendly Irish weather at Royal Portrush but his level-par 72 was no disaster either and the Dubliner goes in the final round two behind try-try-again Welsh journeyman Jamie Donaldson, who is making his 254th tour start and has still to register a victory.
Donaldson posted his third consececutive sub-70 of the week to take a one-shot advantage over another nearly man (polite term for serial loser) in Anthony Wall who moved up with an excellent 67.
He at least has won a tournament but that was a long time ago, in 2000, and in South Africa a long way from the record 30,000 crowds which will pitch up on Sunday, come rain or shine (most likely rain) to yell home Harrington, hero of three Open Championships and in a rich vein of form after top-eight finishes in the first two Majors of the year.
Both Donaldson and Wall are likely to find the heat in the kitchen stifling and the same can be said of Yorkshireman Mark Foster, who shared third spot with Pod and, like Wall, has won just the once, in 2003.
Sicilian Open winner Thorbjorn Olesen shot the lowest round of the day, a 66, and pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy still has an outside chance at only six back, the same mark as defending champion Simon Dyson and Francesco Molinari.
Leaderboard: -12 Donaldson, -11 Wall, -10 Harrington, Foster, -9 Waring, -8 Olesen, C Lee, Zanotti, Cabrera Bello, -7 Morrison, -6 Dyson, McIlroy, Dubois, Drysdale, Goya, Ilonen, Marshall, Canizares, Bland, Zions, F Molinari, Orr, Lundberg
Best prices: 5-2 Harrington, 11-4 Donaldson, 11-2 Wall, 9 Foster, 20 Cabrera Bello, Olesen, 25 Waring, 28 McIlroy, 40 Zanotti, 66 Molinari, Dyson, Morrison, 100 R Fisher.
ROUND FOUR ADVICE
We are heavily involved with Harrington at 12-1 but, even so, rather than trying to hedge, the advice is to go in again at 5-2 as all those around him are very dubious operators under pressure and to this eye he looks more of a 7-4 shot with just two ahead of him and only two strokes to make up.
On the debit side, he himself has not won a tournament of any note - it's hard to count the Johor Open - for almost four years but he has won the Irish before, in 2007, has been in terrific form in the States, loves Portrush and is a master of links golf. The tournament is his for the taking. The question is: Can he take it?
Don't count McIlroy out entirely. With so many lesser players in front of him, expect the world No. 2 to move up the leaderboard and at 28-1 or 7-1 a place, he is not the worst value around.
Leaders Donaldson and Wall go off at 1.15pm so we shall know our fate, weather permitting, long before Spain and Italy kick off.
On the twoball front, Harrington looks a tip-top 8-13 shot against the flaky Foster at 1.05pm but if you're looking for a good-value outsider, why not steady Weybridge starlet James Morrison who topped the Open Championship qualifiers at Sunningdale on Monday, shot a 63 on the New course there, and is clearly on a high?
He's 13-8 with Boylesports to outscore the useful Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello who is unlikely to relish another dose of Co Antrim's unsummery weather.
3pts 5-2 (general)
0.5pt each-way 28-1 (bet365, Boylesports)
J Morrison to beat R Cabrera Bello
2pts 13-8 (Boylesports, BetVictor)
J Morrison & P Harrington double
1pt double (13-8 & 8-13) BetVictor
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