Padraig Harrington shares 54-hole lead at Czech Masters

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Padraig Harrington shares 54-hole lead at Czech Masters

Euro Tour

Padraig Harrington shares 54-hole lead at Czech Masters

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn might be having second thoughts about making Padraig Harrington one of his vice captains. He’s perhaps thinking about making him a wild card pick considering the Irishman’s performance in Prague.

Harrington shares the 54-hole lead in the $1.15 million D+D Real Czech Masters with Texas A&M alum Andrea Pavan on 17 under. They’re three shots clear of 36-hole leader Gavin Green, who lies third.

Thomas Pieters’ chance of a win before Bjorn makes his four wild card picks doesn’t look promising. The Belgian began the day two shots off the lead, but is six shots adrift in eighth place on 11 under after a 1-under 71.

Harrington, a three-time major winner, matched Pavan’s bogey-free 65 to share the joint lead. It’s the Dubliner’s lowest 54-hole score since the 2016 Portugal Masters, which he won.

“There’s a certain feeling that I wish this was Sunday the way I played out there today,” the 46-year-old said. “I started to feel comfortable on the greens, started to feel like I could hole putts. That’s the way you want to feel on a Sunday.”

Pieters would be closer to the lead if not for dropped shots at the 13th and 18th holes. He looked out of sorts all day, and needs a low number in the final round if he’s to impress Bjorn with a win.

Pavan is in his eighth year as a professional but has yet to find a permanent home on the European Tour. He took the fourth card at last year’s Qualifying School, his sixth visit since turning pro in 2010. He’s spent the last two seasons on the Challenge Tour, where he has four wins.

The 29-year-old, who’s kept his Texas ties by residing in McKinney, Texas, is well on his way to keeping his card for 2019. He’s currently 53rd on the money list, thanks to three top 10s, including third in the Trophée Hassan II and sixth in last week’s Nordea Masters. He might be on track for his first European Tour win.

“I hit it very well off the tee, I was always in play which is very nice,” Pavan said. “I putted really well, especially on the back nine.

“I’m definitely looking forward to playing with Padraig tomorrow. It’s the first time I’m in this position on the European Tour so it will be good, probably a long day but I’ll just try to keep doing my own thing and not watch him too much.”

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