By Andrew Both
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Reuters) – As Phil Mickelson vaulted to the second-round lead and the precipice of historical past on the PGA Championship on Friday, middle-aged peer Padraig Harrington mentioned he anticipated the American to stay on the leaderboard all weekend.
Harrington performed the primary two rounds with Mickelson at Kiawah Island and was impressed by what he noticed within the 50-year-old’s shotmaking and demeanor.
“In the position he is, I expect him to contend, and I wouldn’t put it past him being there at the end of the week, for sure,” mentioned the Irishman of Mickelson.
“I think he has the bit between his teeth. I think he believes he can do it in these conditions, just like myself.
“I believe myself, Phil would discover it simpler to compete on this fashion of golf course in these circumstances in a significant event on a regular basis. You might be affected person on these programs. It fits … any person who’s considering.”
Harrington, 49, was referring to the whipping winds which are placing a premium on experience, patience and acceptance, with pars to be prized and birdies treasured.
Mickelson made no less than five birdies on his inward half, the front nine to shoot 69 for a five-under-par 139 halfway total, good for a two shot lead with half the field back in the clubhouse.
He has won five major championships but victory here would be the biggest of all, given that he would become the oldest major champion by two years, surpassing Julius Boros, who was 48 when he captured the 1968 PGA Championship.
“Even second can be a disappointment for Phil,” three-time major champion Harrington said after shooting 73 to trail Mickelson by five shots.
“I’m a little bit bit like that, too … as a result of it would not do my profession any good. It would not do Phil’s any good.
“That might make it harder for us at times because we over-push and over-try because only winning is the only thing that will bring any satisfaction to myself or Phil.”
Harrington says each he and Mickelson have loads of scar tissue from the quite a few disappointments which have accompanied their many successes.
There is a candy spot age-wise, he says, the place expertise and innocence converge, and the additional expertise gained with age is ultimately offset by the lack of innocence.
“We have experience, but we have some scar tissue in there and we can overthink things at times,” he mentioned.
Harrington will captain the European Ryder Cup group in opposition to the United States in September.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)