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Defending Open champion Padraig Harrington has praised the Ailsa Course at Turnberry during his first ever visit to the famous Scottish links organised by his club supplier Wilson Golf on Wednesday.

“This was a fantastic chance for me to have an early look at the course layout and I really like what I see,” he said.

“From watching it on TV I know it is a great course, and today I’ve seen that it’s in pristine condition. Whenever you come to play an Open Championship it is set up to be the best it possibly can be and certainly at this stage it’s looking like it will be a great test of golf and a tremendous Open venue.”

Despite coach Bob Torrance living close by, Harrington has never visited Turnberry before, so used this opportunity to study the 2009 Open Championship links with caddie Ronan Flood to prepare his challenge for a third consecutive Claret Jug.

“It’s great to play the course when things are a little bit more low key so I can really focus on what shots are going to be needed during the tournament,” he added.

 “I can now go and work on these shots over the next two months so that I’m fully prepared for the week of the Open.”

Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland, granted the three-time Major winner special permission to play the Ailsa course during the Wilson Golf media day.

This is the third year that Wilson has organised a media day with Padraig at the Open Championship venue, with both the previous two occasions – at Carnoustie in 2007 and Royal Birkdale in 2008 – being followed by famous victories.

“These pre-Open media days with Wilson Golf have become a bit of a tradition and they have worked very well the last two years,” continued Padraig.

Were Harrington to win a third Open Championship in 2009, he would become the first golfer to record a hat-trick of wins since Peter Thomson 53 years ago, and only the fifth to do so in the 149-year history of the event.