WALTON-ON-THE-HILL, England – Padraig Harrington’s string of U.S. Open appearances is over. The Irishman will miss America’s national championship for the first time since 1999.
The three-time major winner returned rounds of 75 and 71 for a 2-over 146 in the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath Golf Club on Monday. He was chasing one of 14 spots on offer into Pinehurst from a field of 105 players.
Harrington was trying to qualify for a major championship for the first time since he qualified for the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
The heavy rain at Walton Heath should have suited Harrington, but he threw his chances away in his opening round.
“The damage was done in the morning,” Harrington said. “I made a few mistakes at times and just didn’t quite know the golf course. I was never comfortable with the pace of the greens, and I had a number of three-putts.
“You do need to play well to get through these things. You’ve got to have things go right for you. You can’t even have an average day. You’ve got to have a good day.”
Harrington’s appearance at Walton Heath proves just how far he’s fallen down the world order. He’s now ranked 214th in the latest Official World Golf Ranking from a high of No. 3 in 2009. Harrington missed the Masters this year, and also didn’t qualify for the Players Championship.
The Dubliner has five top-10 U.S. Open finishes. He was fourth at the Olympic Club two years ago, his best U.S. Open finish. He hasn’t won since the 2008 PGA Championship.
“There’s nothing to take away from today,” Harrington said. “I see some good stuff in my game at times, but definitely today it wasn’t good. I was a little fatigued because it’s been a long couple of weeks. I’m fairly confident about things. I’ll try to stay confident and stay upbeat and let it happen.”
Shane Lowry showed the kind of confidence Harrington is seeking. He returned rounds of 69 and 67 for an 8-under 136 and qualified with ease. It was a continuation of the sort of golf that saw him finish second behind Rory McIlroy in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
“I putted really, really well,” Lowry said. “I holed a lot of six and eight footers for par. I carried on the momentum from yesterday and got the job done.”
Lowry won’t travel to Pinehurst just to make up the numbers. The Irishman can play, and has two European Tour victories to back it up.
“Majors are what I want to be playing in. The field at Wentworth last week wasn’t as good as a major, but it’s nearly there. I felt really comfortable competing down the stretch against Rory McIlroy, Thomas Bjorn and Luke Donald. I felt like I was meant to be there and felt comfortable, confident.”
Also qualifying automatically with Lowry were Graeme Storm, Simon Griffiths, Garth Mulroy, Maximilian Kieffer, Shiv Kapur, Brooks Koepka, Marcel Siem, Chris Doak and Niclas Fasth.
Six players at 4-under-par scores of 140 were involved in a playoff for the last four spots. They went to Oliver Fisher, Andrea Pavan, Lucas Bjerregaard and Tom Lewis. Morten Orum Madsen and Danny Willett had to settle for alternate places.