Tue, 06 Jun 2023

Padraig Harrington charges to lead at U.S. Senior Open

Field Level Media
25 Jun 2022, 13:55 GMT+10

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, searching for his first career PGA Tour Champions victory, holds a one-shot lead after two rounds at the U.S. Senior Open in Bethlehem, Pa.

Harrington, 50, recorded a bogey-free, 6-under-par 65 on Friday at Saucon Valley Country Club, leaving him at 6-under 136 overall.

Steve Stricker shot a 2-under 69, and he is just behind Harrington at 5 under. Another stroke back is Rob Labritz, who posted his second straight 69.

Gene Sauers (second-round 67), Rocco Mediate (71), first-round co-leader Jay Haas (72), Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee (69) and New Zealand's Steven Alker (67) are tied for fourth at 3 under.

The other first-round co-leader, Australia's Mark Hensby, shot a 73 on Friday, leaving him tied for ninth at 2 under. He is level with Doug Barron (68) and Germany's Alex Cejka (69).

Harrington opened with a birdie at No. 10 and had two stretches of back-to-back birdies.

"I got under par early on," he said. "I felt I lost my way a little bit in the middle of the round, and then I came back strong later on. You try a little too hard at times. ...

"It was nice to see I kind of got it back towards the end there where I felt pretty comfortable."

A three-time major winner on the PGA Tour and European Tour, Harrington is off to a strong start in his first U.S. Senior Open.

"It's a much stronger test than I expected," he said. "This is way, way tougher than our regular Champions tour events. I knew this was a big advantage to me starting the week, both length-wise and being able to play from the rough if I am in the rough."

Stricker opened with a birdie but then had a double bogey on the par-5 sixth hole. He followed with nine consecutive pars before finishing birdie-birdie-birdie.

"I had a couple of other opportunities on the back that I didn't make, but I told my brother-in-law, Mario, who was caddying for me, let's try to get one or two coming in the last three holes," Stricker said. "I wasn't thinking three. Maybe I should have been.

"Yeah, I just wanted to get back to even really for the day and ended up birdieing the last three. It was a good way to finish the day."

Defending champion Jim Furyk barely made the cut after shooting a 76. He tied for 54th at 5 over.

--Field Level Media

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