EDISON, NJ - AUGUST 27: Padraig Harrington of Ireland dries off a club as his caddie Ronan Flood holds an umbrella prior to Harrington hitting his tee shot on the seventh hole during the third and final round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on August 27, 2011 in Edison, New Jersey. The tournament was cut down from a 72 hole competition to 54 holes due to the the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
The Barclays - Review
I went to Plainfield CC for The Barclays trying to win the tournament but also to get inside the top 100 for the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston the following week.
Whilst I didn’t win I finished in a tie for 13th, which was enough to move me up from 124th in the FedEx Cup rankings to 80th and qualify me for the following week.
In terms of The Barclays I was disappointed with my finish as I started the final round in a tie for fourth and four behind the leader. I went out in the final round looking to make a quick start so as to put some pressure on the leaders but it never materialised.
Having made it into the field I was determined to take advantage and move up the rankings. I was very happy with how I played in Greensboro, felt good about my game in practice and was looking forward to starting. I was due to tee off at 1.50pm on Thursday afternoon but I didn’t get out until 4.35pm due to a storm coming in. This delay really wasn’t what the tournament needed as we were already preparing for no play on Sunday given that Hurricane Irene was expected to hit us. Early in the week there was talk of playing 36 holes on Saturday so as to get 72 holes in, but when we got the delay on Thursday it took that option out of play. I didn’t spend anytime worrying about what would happen, as I have been around long enough now to realize that things can change very quickly.
When I did get started on Thursday I played very nicely - I got eleven holes played before we were taken off the course for darkness. I was four under par when we left and felt that I could have been a few more. When I came back the next morning I made three more birdies and one bogey to end up shooting six under par. It felt good to be moving forward again as it has been a while. There were only a few minutes between rounds on Thursday, which reminded me of my old amateur days. I played nicely again and shot four under par to be ten under for the tournament. While I was playing my second round I heard the announcement by the PGA Tour that we would only be playing a 54-hole tournament due to the hurricane. It was nice to know early what was happening as then everyone knows. It was also the right decision as the forecast was so bad - I would always prefer to play 72 holes but it can’t always be the case.
Saturday was our final round and I was starting four back on a soft golf course. I knew with the conditions that I would need to shoot a very low score to have a chance of winning. I played very well on Saturday but I just couldn’t hole any putts. All day I gave myself good birdie chances but I wasn’t able to convert many of them. I ended up shooting two under to finish on 12 under par and a tie for 13th, but the way I played I could have been five shots better without any problem. It was a disappointing final round in terms of my score but I can take a lot of positives from it as I played well. It was just one of those days when I couldn’t make a putt, but all in all I was very happy with how I played all week. I felt very comfortable with my swing and hit a lot of very good shots.
The disappointing thing about my finish was that going out in the final round I was in a position to secure my place for the third leg of the Playoffs in Chicago, whereas now I have to go to Boston and play well again to get into the next round.
Having finished on Saturday I decided to stay in New Jersey and sit out the Hurricane. We weren’t sure what to expect, as the forecast was terrible. In the end it wasn’t quite as bad as they predicted in New Jersey. It was very windy and quite a bit of rain but nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
I will drive up to Boston early in the week as next week's tournament starts on Friday, finishing on a Monday, which is a public holiday in the States.
Final round of two under par 69 leaves Padraig in a tie for 13th place at The Barclays and climbs him up to 80th place in the Fed Ex Cup standings. Four birdies were offset by a couple of bogies on a day where his putter went a bit cold. He rallied well to birdie two of his last three holes and will now need to finish in the top 35 in the second play off event to progress into the BMW Championship.
Padraig continues his fine form at the Barclays with another solid round of four under par 67. His ten under par total leaves him in a tie for 5th place and just four shots off the lead. He has also risen into the top 50 in the Fed Ex cup standings. Again. he had seven birdies in his round and will hope to shoot one last low round as the event has been curtailed to just three rounds because of weather problems. The field will tee off at first light today to avoid the impending weather warning.
Padraig opens his account at this years FedEx cup playoffs with a stunning round of six under par 65. Seven birdies were recorded with just one blemish on his card at the par four 13th hole. Eight under par leads but Padraig could make huge strides up the play off tables with another low round on Friday.
Padraig is in New Jersey for the first of the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, The Barclays. It is a tournament that he has fond memories of having been a former winner of the prestigious event. He will need to finish somewhere in the top 30 to progress to next weeks play off but a win would guarantee him a shot of winning the overall FED EX Cup.He tees off at 1.50pm local time (+5GMT) with Arjun Atwal and William McGirt.
The Barclays - Preview
This week The Barclays will be my fifth tournament in a row. I can’t remember the last time that I played that many events consecutively - normally at this time of the year I play a maximum of three in a row but because I needed to go to Greensboro to qualify for the FedEx Cup I am now into a long run of tournaments. Also, if I play well enough this week I will be playing again next week.
This week is the first of the FedEx Cup playoff events, The Barclays, which I actually won a few years ago, and is a tournament I have always enjoyed. For the last few years it has been moved around different courses and has managed to keep its appeal to the players because of the quality of the courses that are used for the rotation. This year we are playing at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey, which is an old style course not too dissimilar to Westchester where I won. Plainfield’s greens are probably a bit more undulating and so slightly trickier; it certainly pays to keep the ball below the hole. A par 71 with plenty of variety on it, Plainfield really sets up well for a tournament. There are short par fours and then tough long ones; the last hole is a driveable par four that you expect to make birdie on but you could as easily take a bogey. It is a course that you will make bogeys and birdies on, but the key is to make sure that you make more birdies than bogeys. Another feature of this course is the fact that you can hit good shots and take bogey and conversely hit poor shots and actually make a birdie. It is important to be prepared for this because not every shot is going to end up where you expect it to.
I got here on Sunday night but took Monday off to hang out with my family. On Tuesday I played nine holes, did some practice and then hosted a clinic for Special Olympics athetes. I played the pro-am on Wednesday and my team won with 14 under. I was happy with how I played - I made a few birdies and a couple of bogeys, exactly what you are looking for on a Wednesday. I got a feel for the course and liked what I saw. I would say that this is a course that suits me.
I was happy with how I played last week, particularly on Sunday, and I have been happy with how my practice has gone this week too. It was great to get into this week as I am now in with a chance of winning the Fed Ex Cup. I am currently 124th on the rankings and after this week I have to be in the top 100 to advance to Boston. I am looking forward to playing as I feel that I am playing well and I really like the course. In terms of what I need to do to get into next week I reckon that I need a top 35 finish. As much as I am here with one eye on getting into next week I am really only thinking about giving myself a chance to win a second Barclays. I know that if I can do that then I am secure for all the playoff events and would have a great chance of winning the Fed Ex Cup.
I am feeling good and looking forward to getting going on Thursday; it is almost like qualifying last week has given me a second chance. Now I just need to make good use of it.