Former champ Harrington storms into contention at Irish Open

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Padraig Harrington has made a blistering start to his final round at the Irish Open, scoring two birdies in his opening three holes to move within striking distance of the leaders.

The three-time major winner is one stroke behind two players tied for first and with his proven ability to triumph in pressure situations looks a good bet at 2/1 to win the European Tour event.

Harrington won here in 2007 and with a Ryder Cup place not secure – having failed to get a tour title yet this season – the Irishman’s inspiration is clear.

Around him, though, are a clutch of formidable golfers, with Chris Wood and Australian Richard Green out in front on 12 under par.

Wood, the 22-year-old Englishman who finished in the tied fifth at the 2008 Open while an amateur, had a flip-flop start of birdie, bogey, birdie in three consecutive holes.

The joint-leader is 6/1 to win his maiden Tour title.

Green meanwhile, has started in rip-roaring fashion, racing to three under for his round after birdies at the first, second and third.

The 39-year-old hasn’t won on the European Tour this year, though, hence his generous price of 7/2 to win the title.

Ross Fisher was the overnight leader, but he has dropped a shot to slip back to 11 under for the tournament.

The Englishman carded a 61 in the second round, but scrambled to an even-par 71 yesterday and has bogeyed the third hole today.

The World Match Play champion hasn’t hit a birdie for 14 holes, a wrong he needs to right if he is to win – a 5/2 chance.

Francesco Molinari is also in the hunt on 11 under. He wants a Ryder Cup spot too and is 8/1 to win his first Tour event of the season having birdied and bogeyed to sit par for his round through five holes.

Darren Clarke is on three under for his round to move to three shots off the lead. A unlikely victory for the Ulsterman is 40/1. See the full tournament betting market for up-to-the minute odds.

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