AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06: (L-R) Padraig Harrington of Ireland walks with Shane Lowry of Ireland during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Disappointing second round of five over 77 sees Padraig miss the cut at this year Masters. He got off to the same start as round one with a bogie at the difficult opening hole. With the cut line looming at two over par, he struggled to make birdies and recorded only one at the par five 8th hole. He bodied the tough 10th and 11th holes around the turn to leave himself too much to do and limped home in five over par. Jordan Spieth blazes the trail as the weekend approaches with a record breaking 36 hole total of fourteen under par and leads by five!
Level par opening round for Padraig at Augusta. It was a strange day with a lot of birdies being made and the inevitable disasters lurking. Padraig got off to a bogie start but steadied the ship well to carve out a run of pars before picking up his first shot of the day at the par five 8th hole which was reachable in two shots. He negotiated the tricky and always dangerous Amen corner in par before holing a monster putt on the par five 13th for another birdie. Another birdie followed at the par five 15th hole to get him to two under par but he found the bunker at the par three 16th hole to drop a shot. Another followed on the 17th before par at the last had him signing for a 72 which leaves him in tied 31st place. He tees off early Friday at 9.13am local time. Jordan Spieth leads by three shots after the opening round with a stunning eight under par round of 64.
Padraig returns to one of his favourite courses, Augusta National for the first major of the year, The Masters. After missing out last year for the first time since he qualified as a professional, he is keen to emulate his best tied fourth finish here or even dare to dream of going a few places better! The highest quality field imaginable has assembled this week for the one major that all players would love to win as it returns to its spiritual home every year. Fellow Irishman, Rory McIlroy, is the favourite this week but this is a course that takes no prisoners and the winner will be the player whose nerve lasts down the back nine stretch come Sunday. Mixed weather is forecast so the course could play very long which will suit the longer hitters but the man that putts best on the treacherous greens will surly have a say in the final outcome, a green jacket for life! Padraig tees off in the opening round at 12.42pm local time with Ryan Palmer and Thomas Bjorn.
This time last year I was sitting at home on my couch sulking, getting ready to watch The Masters on TV. I have to say it really hurt not being here last year, but it made me want to come back even more. I have been vocal over the years about my love of Augusta National, so to be back is a great feeling. That said I am not taking this week as a jolly in any sense, I am here to book my spot for life by winning. I don't want to be sitting at home again having to watch on the couch.
I have made sure to take it easy this week and not wear myself out in practice. I did some work with Pete Cowen and then some chipping and pitching. I played nine holes with Shane Lowry in the afternoon which was good fun, as you forget how much a big deal it is to come here for the first time. We talked about a few things on the course, but in general he asked what he wanted to know rather than me unloading my thoughts on him. We played the back nine and I have to say it was in as good a condition as I have seen it. The greens were running very fast and the the fairways were perfect. We had a good laugh on the course which was great, a lot of the time practice rounds can be long and boring but it went by pretty quickly. By the end I was very tired so rather than do anything else I headed back to my house.
On Tuesday I decided against playing any holes and instead Shane and myself had a few chipping contests. In the end we halved the money - I was leading in the last one but let him off the hook. It was great practice though, so much better than just hitting chips myself. He went to play the course and I spent an hour practicing my putting before I headed back to the house. Caroline and the kids were due so I had to make sure that we had some food in the house before they got there, which meant a trip to the supermarket.
On Wednesday I played the front nine in the morning and then the Par Three Tournament at 1pm along with Shane and Stevie Gallagher. Paddy and Ciaran caddied for me which was great, they did a really good job and were even doing TV interviews afterwards. After the Par 3, I practiced my putting again for about an hour and called it a day.
My goal for the practice days was not to wear myself out - I know that the key is to be fresh come Sunday and to do that I have to take it very easy in practice. I am very happy that I have prepared well and am ready to play. On Monday I was a little distracted by what I had been working on, but on Wednesday it was all about the target, which felt good. I have a good draw this week, I'm playing with Tomas Bjorn and Ryan Palmer, two guys that I know well and are great to play with.
I'm feeling good and have prepared well, so there is no more I can do but to rest up and look forward to the challenge of playing Augusta National.