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The Irishman finished runner-up to Darren Clarke last year at Gleneagles on his Senior Open debut and is back 12 months on as Royal Porthcawl plays host to Europe’s only Senior Major Championship.

Harrington, a two-time winner of The Open, is looking to become just the fifth player in golf history to lift both the Claret Jug and Senior Open trophy, after Clarke emulated Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson.

“I try to win every week I play whether it is on the regular tour or on the Senior Tour,” he said on the eve of the fifth and final Senior Major of 2023.

“But I have got to say that would be the icing on the cake.

“You want to win a Senior Major, you want to win a Senior Open but the fact that I would then have won both the regular Open and the Senior Open if I did it would be that little bit more special and put me in elite company.”

The Irishman, who turns 52 next month, has 37 professional victories to his name, including back-to-back Open Championships in 2007 and 2008, forming part of a stunning run of form which included the US PGA Championship in August 2008.

He claimed his maiden Senior Major Championship at the U.S. Senior Open last year and missed out on winning his second in a play-off defeat to Steve Stricker at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in May.

Having made the cut at both The 151st Open and Genesis Scottish Open in his past two starts, Harrington has looked to manage his preparations in Wales in a bid to ensure he is still fresh should he be in contention down the stretch on Sunday.

“There is a good chance going into this if I play my game, I should be in contention come Sunday afternoon,” he said.

“If I am in contention the main thing is to be sharp. The last thing you want to do is prepare yourself for Thursday and be burned out by Sunday.”

Having started the year with a top-five finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the opening Rolex Series event of the DP World Tour schedule, Harrington has proven he is still able to compete with the best.

But despite his advantageous length of the tee in the 50 and over ranks, Harrington insists accuracy will be a bigger factor on a demanding course in Royal Porthcawl and with wet weather forecasted.

“Rain and wind kind of nullifies my driver,” he said. “You don’t want to get it up in the air, going sideways. There are plenty of bunkers. You’d be trying to knock it down all the time.

“If the rain dries up and it plays softly you can carry some bunkers and then it is digging in before the next set of bunkers – that would play into my hands.

“But I didn’t go out onto the golf course and think this is the golf course for me.

“I have turned up at Champions Tour events and thought this is the ideal course for me.

“This is links golf, so ball flight is very important. It is not necessarily raw speed that does the job. I don’t really have an advantage on the field with this golf course but I just have to play better golf if I want to win.”

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