Triple Major winning Padraig Harrington could not be more happier with one Scottish Open round to play before next week’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
Of course, at 11-under par and six shots behind Ryder Cup colleague, Francesco Molinari, the Irishman is seemingly out of contention on the Castle Stuart course near Inverness.
But if his demeanour is any yardstick than it is all green lights on route to next week’s championship.
“Eleven-under is okay but it’s going to be quite away off the lead at the end of the day,” he said.
“I would like to be certainly three shots better and in with a chance tomorrow, and if the lead gets to 18-under par or something like that, it’s asking a lot on the last day.
“But if a miracle were to happen and 14-under is leading then I am still in with a chance.
“There’s a good score waiting out there and I certainly played good golf in parts.
“What pleased me is that I hit a lot of nice putts today, read the green well and something I hadn’t done in the first round.
“Hopefully, I can keep this up tomorrow and then going into next week.”
Harrington ended his round by sending a some 60-foot putt from off the green to around four feet and duly holed the birdie putt.
Not only did is please the Dubliner but his physical and conditioning coach, Dave Aldred.
Aldred had been out in Australia last week for final ‘State of Origin’ Rugby League match won by Queensland 21 to 20 over New South Wales.
And while Harrington and his caddy, Ronan Flood studied their yardage books all the way about the Gil Hanse designed Castle Stuart, so to did Aldred pencilling such things as clubs, chips and putts.
He then met Harrington after his round, as he has done for three days this week, before accompanying him into the Players Lounge.
And despite the surprising benign conditions for the three days in northern Scotland, Harrington is more than happy with his play.
He was asked if he would like to see the course play tougher over the final day.
“Yes and no,” he said.
“You don’t want to be beaten up the week before a Major and not be too taxing.
“You also want to gain some confidence and make some birdies.
“The fact we’re playing links golf means it’s still pretty good for next week. ”
And while the likes of fellow Irish Major Champions Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell have elected not to play competition this week, Harrington could also not be happier with his decision to be in Scotland.
“I will always play the Scottish Open and the week before the Open Championship if it’s on a links golf course,” he said.
“And if the European Tour don’t provide one then I will provide a venue back home. I will have a tournament to play, no matter what.
“The important thing is that I get that competitive focus on a links golf course the week before The Open. We only play The Open once a year but having the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, and now the Scottish Open here at Castle Stuart is great preparation.
“But they are big tournaments in themselves and you would like to win them individually but if you don’t win them, they are great preparation leading into an Open.”