Harrington hopes Barclays play earns him Ryder spot

By Larry Fine

PARAMUS, New Jersey (Reuters) - Triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland put himself in contention at the Barclays with a second-round 68 on Friday and hopes his play will also pay off in a Ryder Cup berth.

Harrington failed to clinch an automatic berth and finds himself in stiff competition for one of European captain Colin Montgomerie's three wild card picks to be announced on Sunday.

"I know that it's only three spots available. And there's plenty of good players out there," Harrington told reporters after his three-under-par round at Ridgewood Country Club put him in striking distance of the leaders.

Past Ryder Cup players Harrington, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Justin Rose -- all playing the Barclays event that kicks off the U.S. Tour's FedExCup playoffs -- are among players hoping to be named for the team that will compete against the United States at the October 1-3 event in Wales.

"I believe that Monty should make a decision based on the full year and who is going to play consistently and who we can rely on to play well," said Harrington.

"(But) in the last tournament of the year, couple days before the team is going to be picked, it's nice to be showing a bit of form. It won't do me any harm."

Harrington said he did not believe Montgomerie's decision would make "a massive difference" to the success of the team because of the quality of the candidates.

The Irishman said his only regret had to do with how he arranged his playing schedule for the year.

"I set my schedule with the expectation of playing good golf and expecting to qualify. You know, that hasn't happened," Harrington said about his misguided strategy for making the team.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Frank Pingue)