JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA - NOVEMBER 17: Padraig Harrington of Ireland walks down the 18th during round one of the Iskandar Johor Open at the Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club on November 17, 2011 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Iskandar Jahor Open.
Padraig finished third at the rain-affected Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia on 13 under par, two shots behind the winner, Dutchman Joost Luiten.
Padraig needed an eagle at the last to get into a play-off but missed the green with his approach shot and then chipped and two-putted for a par to finish on 69.
"It was disappointing not only to chip-and-putt 18 but also 16. But there you go," said Padraig. "I am happy with my form and where my head was at but still a little disappointed with the result."
Superb opening round of seven under par 64 leaves Padraig in a tie for second place and just one behind the leader going into day two. He put the disappointment of last week in Singapore aside as he putted like the Padraig of old and played solid golf throughout. Seven threes and a two made up his card, with just one bogey recorded on the par three 17th hole (his 8th). He was out in 33 shots and back in an impressive 31 shots. He tees off at 12.20pm local time (+8 GMT) in round two.
Padraig is in Malaysia at the Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club to defend his Iskandar Jahor Open title. The 6,857 yard, par 72 layout is very much a risk and reward course with a lot of water hazards. The course will play to a par 71 this year after heavy rain reduced the par four 4th hole to a par 3. The event is a co sanctioned event between the Asian tour and the European tour and carries a two million dollar purse with 317,000 USD to the winner. Padraig tees off in round one at 7.30am local time (+8 GMT) with LU Wei-Chih and Charlie Wi.
Iskandar Jahor Open - Preview
This week I am in Johor, Malaysia to defend my title that I won here last year. It is always great to come back to a course and tournament as the defending champion. You generally only have good memories of the course and you are treated like a King as the defending champion. I remember winning here last year; my biggest advantage was how far I was hitting the ball. I was hitting it miles off the tee and the course was firm, which meant that I was getting another 40-50 yards of run. As a result it played very short and it seemed that I spent the week hitting lob wedges and sand wedges. I have been looking forward to coming back all year to see how I compare to last year.
I got here on Sunday evening from Singapore so that I could play nine holes on Monday. I played the back nine in the afternoon and it was totally different to what it was like last year. This year the course is very wet - it is now a couple of weeks into the rainy season which means that it pretty much lashes with rain for an hour or two every day. Every fairway is soaked, so much so that the balls are plugging, so the 40—50 yards of run has disappeared and it feels like a totally different course. Last year the lay up holes were very tricky because you were afraid of running out of fairway, whereas now there is no chance of it. The longer holes, mainly the par fives that we were reaching comfortably last year are now tough as they are longer and in some cases out of reach. Even though the fairways are wet the greens are surprisingly firm and it is hard to get close to the hole on some greens. It is very hard to see the scoring being anything like it was last year. In fact with the way the weather has been so far this week there is a chance we may only play 54 holes again.
Last week I struggled with my irons as I was catching them out of the toe of the club, but I did some work on it over the weekend and I am hopeful I have solved the problem. However during practice I have hit a number of shots out of the toe again, but I am confident that it is down to me changing my posture. I am also sure that once I get accustomed to the new posture it will be fine but for the moment I have to accept that I am going to catch a few out of the toe.
My practice has been hampered by the weather - I got my nine holes in on Monday no problem but the pro-am was rained off on Tuesday and then I only got nine in on Wednesday. However I am happy that I know the course even though it is playing different to last year. I would like to be hitting the ball better than I am but there is not much I can do about it without getting into some heavy practice, which would not be good for my chances in the tournament. I am aware of the issue and once I realize that it will arise on a few shots and make sure I don’t get annoyed about it I will be fine.
I have been told that nobody has successfully defended the Johor Open to date; I am here this week to try and put that to rest and take the trophy home with me again. Even though I am not 100% happy with my game I still believe that I can win this week. I have good memories of the course and remember holing a lot of putts here so all this helps. The important thing about this week is to get off to a fast start as there is a possibility that we will be affected by weather and reduced to 54 holes. If you get off to a fast start and it is reduced then you still have a chance, but if you get off to a slow start it is hard to make up the ground.
I am playing early Thursday and late Friday - if the weather comes in as it has most days this week it would suggest that I will get my early round in without much problem and then probably get delayed on Friday. With the possibility of poor weather it is key to be mentally prepared for all possibilities. I have no problem with whatever happens this week, I am here to try and defend my title no matter how many holes we play.