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Harrington frustrated at another second place

Padraig Harrington is a frustrated man going into this week's U.S. Open, despite tying for second at the Buick Classic on Sunday.

The Irishman, edged out in a three-way playoff, was bitterly disappointed with his game at Westchester Country Club and the 23rd runner-up placing of his professional career.

"It doesn't give me any more confidence coming into this week," the 32-year-old told reporters at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Monday as he prepared for the second of the year's four majors.

"I take away nothing but disappointment. It's another second place finish, when you add it up, and that's it.

"I had a poor week swinging the golf club but kept myself in contention. It was tiring mentally and I haven't really got too much confidence swing-wise at the moment."

Harrington carded four successive 68s to get into a three-way playoff with eventual winner Sergio Garcia and South Africa's Rory Sabbatini at Westchester.

All three birdied the final hole of regulation play and the Irishman lipped out with a seven-foot birdie attempt at the first extra hole in a bid to clinch the title.

"I hit a good putt and had a very good chance running down to the hole," he said. "But it straightened out a little bit at the hole and just missed on the high side."

Harrington exited the playoff at the second extra hole, the par-four 17th, where he missed a nine-footer for par.

In spite of his overall frustration, though, the world number seven is Europe's most likely winner this week.

He has produced three top-10 finishes in his last four U.S. Open starts. With his patience and ability to scramble, he is ideally suited to the rigours of the links-style Shinnecock layout.

However, he is banking on restoring his swing fluency before the tournament starts on Thursday.

"The last thing you want to do before a U.S. Open is try to find a golf swing and I seem to have lost mine," he said.

"When things aren't going so well, I tend to play a little bit better. I can make my birdies and knock my ball down when I'm not swinging the club so well.

"But you really don't want that sort of form going into a U.S. Open. You don't see too many birdies at a U.S. Open. It's about good, solid play and I don't seem to have the solid play at the moment."

Harrington is scheduled to tee off at 1240 local (1640 GMT) on Thursday from the first tee, along with 2001 U.S. PGA champion David Toms and Stephen Leaney of Australia.

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