Cape Town - Padraig Harrington returns to his homeland with his sights
set firmly on winning his national Open for the second time at this week's Irish Open.
The 46-year-old, who overcame Bradley Dredge in a play-off
to claim victory in the 2007 edition of the event before going to win The Open
Championship at Carnoustie later that year, arrives at Ballyliffin Golf Club
intent on adding another title to his 15 European Tour wins.
"I'm here with the sole purpose of trying to win, that's for sure. The nature of the game for me now is to win or nothing. I don't get any enjoyment finishing in the top ten, it is no fun to me," said Harrington.
"Maybe I put myself under too much stress when the gun goes, but outside of that, I've shown that if I can get myself into that position, where I have a chance of winning, I only play better down the stretch, but I struggle sometimes getting to that position."
Although this week will mark the Dubliner's first visit to
the county of Donegal, Harrington believes he can continue his enviable record
on links golf courses - which includes his Open Championship victories
in 2007 and in 2008, the latter at Royal Birkdale.
"I played nine holes today and it is a very traditional links golf
course which requires an awful lot of thinking, a lot of strategy on the
golf course, which hopefully will play into my hands and gives me a lot
of options," said Harrington.
Shane Lowry, who memorably won
his home event as an amateur in 2009 at County Louth, also goes in search of a
second European Tour victory on home soil while Paul Dunne - who triumphed for
Ireland alongside Gavin Moynihan in this year's GolfSixes - is another player
looking to make the most of home advantage this week.
"This week is like a fifth Major for me. It comes at a great time of the year as well, and is a couple of weeks before The Open, so it is great to have three links events in a row," said Dunne.
"I feel like my game got better each day in France last week and after my first couple of days of practice here, the swing feels quite good. I am really looking forward to giving it a good go this week."