Clarke and Harrington look likely to miss cut

Killarney, Ireland: British Open champion Darren Clarke looks likely to miss the Irish Open cut after slumping to a three-over 74 in the second round on Friday.

Triple major winner Padraig Harrington seems certain to miss out after the Irishman returned a 72 for 145, three over.

While two of the crowd favourites were struggling overnight front-runner Jeev Milkha Singh retained his two-shot lead, setting the early pace with a 70 that took the Indian player to nine-under 133.

Clarke putted poorly and three bogeys in a row on the back nine left the Northern Irishman on 143, with the cut likely to fall at level-par.

If the 42-year-old, who won the British Open at Royal St George`s two weeks ago, does miss out he will be short of practice ahead of next week`s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Akron, Ohio, a tournament he won in 2003.

"Having the weekend off was definitely not what I wanted," Clarke told reporters. "I played averagely and couldn`t buy a putt and that`s not a good combination.”

"I had a couple of lucky bounces at Sandwich, today it went the other way. I guess it was payback time."

Former world number one Tiger Woods, who has missed the last two major championships through injury, is to return to competitive golf at Akron.

"It`s good news about Tiger, I`m looking forward to him playing again," said Clarke. "He`s still one of the finest players despite all that`s happened.”

"He`ll have all the hype around him. I`d like to play with him but I`m just delighted to be playing the tournament and I don`t mind who I play with."

Bureau Report

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