Harrington Ferrie Star in Ireland


2005 Smurfit European OpenWith the 135th Open Championship just a fortnight away, the European Tour assembles at the K Club in Dublin, Ireland, for the Smurfit Kappa European Open.
Fresh off his breakout performance at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, defending champion Kenneth Ferrie will share the spotlight with Ireland's own Padraig Harrington, who like Ferrie, is coming in with a lot of confidence.
After his solid fifth-place showing at the U.S. Open, Harrington backed it up with a pair of runner-up finishes at both the Booz Allen Classic and the Open de France, the latter closing just one shot behind winner John Bickerton.
Despite being without a win on either tours thus far this season, Harrington currently ranks third on the European Tour's Order of Merit and has moved to within striking distance of the top-30 on the PGA TOUR's money list.
Ferrie, who played alongside Phil Mickelson in the final pairing on Sunday at Winged Foot, comes in as the defending champion even though he has Thomas Bjorn to thank for that. Last year Bjorn, who held a four-stroke lead after 54 holes, imploded down the stretch to hand Ferrie the title.
Coming to the par-4 17th, Bjorn hit three balls into the water and walked off with an 11 en route to a 14-over par 86 that dropped him from first all the way down to a tie for 33rd.
Another pair worth watching is the resurgent Colin Montgomerie and England's Lee Westwood. Westwood is a two-time winner of this event, although both victories came during his torrid streak back in 1999 and 2000. He has since had a couple of top-10s including a second-place showing in 2004.
Monty, despite this tournament being one of the few events in his career in which he has never visited the winner's circle, finished runner-up in 2005 and also has a third, fourth, sixth and eighth-place showing to his credit.
Also in the mix are both captains for this year's Ryder Cup matches - Ian Woosnam and Tom Lehman.
The event will give the two opposing captains a good look at The K Clubs Palmer Course before returning in September for the biennial matches. The K Club has hosted ten of the previous eleven editions of the Smurfit European Open.
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