Eagle for Harding rekindles lessons from the last Open

Jul 16, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Justin Harding had a delicate little bump-and-run eagle from just short of the 14th green on Friday in the third round of the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent as he navigated his way to a three-under-par 67.

That took the seven-time Sunshine Tour champion to six-under for the tournament in his third appearance in the Open Championship after he missed the cut and shared 41st at Royal Portrush in Ireland in 2019.

Memories of that performance behind 2019 champion Shane Lowry are what is driving him this week. “I was doing pretty well at Portrush a couple of years ago after 36 holes,” he said of memories of his second-round 65 there. “I think I let it slip on the back nine on Saturday afternoon. I’ve learnt from those experiences, and I will just try and keep myself in it for as long as possible.”

He had a solid start to his second round, making birdie on the fourth after three straight pars. But then he stumbled momentarily, with bogeys on five and seven. He pulled things right around the turn, with birdies on nine and 10 to get his round back into red numbers. Then came the eagle.

“I may have missed a couple of fairways, but I was very rarely more than a yard off a couple of them,” said Harding in evaluating his round. “I kept the ball in play and managed it pretty well from tee to green. It was just a good solid day. I tried to make the smallest number of mistakes possible and give myself a couple of birdie chances, and the eagle on 14 was a bonus. It turned the round into a very good round and I’m happy where I am after 36 holes.”

He will want to make sure he has learnt his lessons from Portrush as he heads into the weekend. “I need to keep doing what I’m doing, and maybe roll in a couple more putts and see what happens come Sunday,” he said.

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