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Irish golfer Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington’s personal tour diary: Singapore Open preview

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Irish golfer Padraig Harrington

I am back in Singapore for the Barclays Singapore Open, having played here last year for the first time, finishing second to Jeev Milka Singh.  I had a good chance to win but I hit it in the water on the 16th and then missed my chance on the last.  It was my last event of last season and I was tired after a long year.  

This year I am coming here after a number of good weeks and I am really looking forward to the event.  This event has been referred to as Asia’s major, as the course and the tournament are set up like a major.  I am coming here after a week off at home having finished third in Portugal.

I arrived here on Sunday afternoon so as to give myself plenty of time to get over the jet lag.  I have three more tournaments left in Europe which means that I have a lot of work to do to get myself into contention for the Race to Dubai.  The three events are big purse tournaments so I know that if I can win two of them and finish high in the other then I will have a chance.

However it is not that easy to win any event, let alone big events such as the three I am playing in.  I am currently 16th in the Race to Dubai and approximately one million euro behind Lee, so I am targeting winning my last three events.

I have played 36 holes in practice, nine on Monday, nine on Tuesday and then 18 in the Pro-am on Wednesday.  It is very tempting to play more and to get into hitting balls on the range but it is so hot and humid here that it is definitely detrimental to your week to spend too much time practicing.  In fact, I have been making a concerted effort to do as little as possible so as not to wear myself out.  

This is one of the best courses that we play all year and the way the course was set up last year was brilliant; I really don’t think they could have set it up any better.  This year there is a different set up – the rough is much heavier and the greens are much softer.  If you miss the fairway it is touch and go as to whether or not you will have to chip it out sideways.  

It is definitely set up tougher than a US Open course - the fairways are narrower and the rough just off the fairway is heavier; there is no semi rough just fairway and then rough.  There is definitely a premium on hitting the fairway this week.  That said, I still think it is a great course and it will produce a great tournament for Barclays.

I am coming into this event off a run of good results, which is always nice but the problem with it is that I have given myself chances to win and I haven’t done so yet and that can be frustrating.  I find that I have to keep telling myself to be patient and not be pushing too hard.  The harder I push the less likely I am to win.

Barclays have been sponsoring this tournament for a number of years now and they have turned it into a great tournament.  It is one that we all look forward to playing in, which can be seen by the quality of the field they have amassed this week (Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott, to name but a few).  It is a world class field and one that will be hard to beat.  

I am here with the aim of winning to give myself a realistic chance in the Race to Dubai, but I have to remember that I can’t win it on the first day.  Like always for me, I am looking to be in contention on Sunday afternoon.  I would be happy to be standing on the 10th tee of the last nine holes with a chance to win and take it from there.

There is a big Irish contingent here this week - I think with the exception of Rory everyone else is here. Originally Gary Murphy wasn’t due to play but there was one invite left and it was given to Gary.  He is just outside the top 115 so a good week here would secure his card for next year; hopefully he can tie it up this week.  I will be rooting for him and his will be the first score I look for every
evening.

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