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Greens the key at Dove Mountain

Padraig Harrington believes the biggest challenge facing players at this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship will be hitting into the heavily contoured greens.

Dove Mountain’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, being used to stage the World Golf Championships (WGC) event for the first time, has large, undulating greens with multiple pin locations.

“It is a difficult golf course to fully remember,” Ireland’s world number four Harrington told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s a golf course you need to play and play, and play competitively, before you understand all the pin positions, if you ever can understand the pin positions.

“There are a lot of pins that can be out there and it seems impossible to cover all angles,” added Harrington, who has won three of the last six majors.

“There are going to be a number of shots where you’re going to be presented with a challenge and you’re not going to be quite sure whether you should hit it short left of the pin or whether you should be aggressive up and around the pin.

“It’s just one of those golf courses that, because of the undulations, will always put doubt in your mind because you just can’t hit it middle of the green every time. Middle of the green sometimes is worse than missing the green.”

Despite the difficulty of hitting into the greens with precision, Harrington said the fans at Dove Mountain could expect some spectacular shot-making.

“You’re going to see an awful lot of shots hit close,” added the Irishman, who faces American Pet Perez in Wednesday’s opening round.

“Once you hit a good shot, it does gather to the pin. An average shot could move away from the pin. You’ll see quite a lot of people hitting it to three and four feet this week, much more so than you’ll see people hitting it to 15 feet.”

Although Harrington has missed the cut in his last two PGA Tour starts, he was satisfied with his early-season progress.

“I think my form has picked up,” the 37-year-old Dubliner said. “I reckon I’m two weeks behind where I should be but I’m very happy with where I am and where I’m going.

“But match play is a difficult event. You can go out there and play great and lose and you can go out there and play average and win. You can never judge your form based on a week like this.”


February 25, 2009

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