So it's finally working for Padraig Harrington.
Fully entrenched in one of the most (if not the most) frustrating season of his entire career, Padraig Harrington finds himself with a three shot lead over Tiger Woods in the Bridgestone Invitational.
Harrington, the subject of a complete swing overhaul, has looked like a different person this season. The same guy who won back-to-back major championships last year has missed seven cuts this season. His best finish came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he tied for 11th. His best finish in a major came at The Masters when he tied for 26th. In defending his British Open title, he allowed over 100 players to finish ahead of him. And don't even mention Bethpage Black. Padraig was slammin' the old Irish trunk after the second round.
Who is this guy?!?!?
But like your parents always told you as a kid, never underestimate the power of hard work. It would have been understandable for Paddy to abanden the swing change and go back to what won him the last two majors of '08. But golfers are nothing if not tinkerers. Harrington knew that eventully the persistance would pay off.
It looks like the change is begining to show dividends.
After shooting a 64 on Thursday and a 69 on Friday, Paddy split the difference with a 64 yesterday. He had two hicups during the third round and recovered nicely from both of them. After a boggey on 4, Harrington parred the next seven holes. The par streak halted with birdies on 12 and 13. After a boggey on 16, he birdied 17 and parred 18 to get to -10 for the tornament.
Now its time to watch something we haven't been able to see for quite a while. Padraig Harrington with a lead. Not only that, but Padraig Harrington with a multiple shot lead.
And as if trying to hold a lead for the first time all year wasn't enough for Harrington, Tiger Woods is making a charge up the leaderboard like only Tiger can. Woods had six birdies and one bogey yesterday to move to -7 on the week. He looked to be playing as well as he had all season on the back nine, hitting beutiful approach shots and birdieing 3 of the final four holes and four of the final six.
With Tiger lurking, I don't see anyone else getting back in this tournament. Jerry Kelly sits five shots back and ten players (including all three '09 major champions and blog favorite Kenny Perry) at six shots back.
Today is about one matchup. It's Harrington vs Woods. Can Paddy hold off those doubts that have plauged him all year and the best player in the world? The three shot lead helps, but its no secuity blanket. If their is one man who can shed a three shot deficit without batting an eye it's Tiger.
And if there is one player in '09 who lacks confidence- It's Harrington.