Padraig Harrington leads halfway at The Honda

Padraig Harrington finally back in the mix after taking the Honda Classic halfway lead

The old stare is back as Padraig Harrington claims the halfway lead at The Honda
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With very little to show from his four 2015 outings to date, Padraig Harrington has taken everyone by surprise by claiming the Honda Classic halfway lead

Step back six or seven years and Padraig Harrington was winning Majors seemingly at will and reigning high in golf’s world pecking order. But the 2008 USPGA Championship remains the 43-year-old Irishman’s last victory on either of the world’s two main tours, with his last non-Major victories coming in the 2007 Irish Open in Europe and the 2005 Barclays Classic in America.

Last year, Harrington recorded a solitary top 10 in Europe in the season-opening limited field Volvo Champions where he finished 5th, while his best finish in America was 22nd in the Byron Nelson Championship in May. Harrington finished 97th on the Race to Dubai – his lowest ranking in 20 years on tour. He also finished a lowly 188th in the FedEx standings, with his last top 10 on the PGA Tour coming in the FedEx St Jude Classic in June 2013.

He has made four PGA Tour appearances to date in 2015, missing the cut three times and finishing 56th at Riviera. But after two rounds at the Honda Classic, Harrington is leading a PGA Tour event for the first time in many moons after excellent rounds of 67 and 66 in testing conditions, on a leaderboard that looks very pleasing to a European eye with Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Russell Knox, a resurgent Paul Casey and Jamie Donaldson all in the top 10 after two rounds.

So was there anything at all in the stars to suggest the seemingly unlikely re-emergence of a man who was once one of golf’s most consistent and determined of campaigners? Well, yes, perhaps there was, for three weeks before Christmas, Harrington claimed his first victory in four years when he won the Indonesian Open on the Asian Tour by two shots. His previous victory had also come on the Asian Tour in the 2010 Johor Open.

That win helped get him back into the world’s top 300, and afterwards Harrington felt it augured well for the 2015 season: “This win brings a lot of confidence to my game and hopefully it will show up next year.” It appears that five events into his 2015 campaign, it has.

After round one, Harrington reflected on the conditions: “As tough as the day was, I kept telling myself, it suits me more than most guys. There was an element of, ‘don't get down on yourself, this suits you better than possibly everybody else, so stick with it.’ But I did find it difficult.”

Is some of that dogged determination for which Harrington was renowned finally back? If so, you can bet that Padraig will be one of few in the field hoping for more bad weather over the weekend.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response