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Harrington still targets top spot in Europe

  • Story Highlights
  • Padraig Harrington targets top spot in Europe with strong finish to season
  • Irish hope is 21st in rankings heading into this week's Dunhill Links Championships
  • Swede Robert Karlsson defends title after recovering from eye problem
  • Phil Mickelson confirms he will play in $5 million Singapore Open next month
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(CNN) -- Padraig Harrington goes into Thursday's Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland still aiming to end the season as European number one.

Harrington is all smiles as he bids for a third victory in the Dunhill Links Championship.

Harrington is all smiles as he bids for a third victory in the Dunhill Links Championship.

The Dubliner is languishing in 21st in the standings after a slow start to 2008, but knows victory in a tournament he has won twice previously can see him charge up the list.

"I've got five events left to give myself a chance," Harrington told reporters on the eve of the tournament.

"I probably need to win two and a few other things to go right, but that would be the goal at the moment." he added.

Harrington has rediscovered his best form after swing changes over the winter and has performing strongly on the PGA Tour in the United States without closing out a victory.

He is currently $1.59 million behind leader Martin Kaymer going into a tournament which is played over three famous Scottish links courses, with the final round at St.Andrews.

Germany's Kaymer is recovering from surgery on broken toes from a go-kart accident and second-placed Paul Casey is also out of action with a rib injury.

But Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher could all make Harrington's task more difficult by winning on Sunday and going to the top of the Race to Dubai money list.

Three-time major winner Harrington remains undaunted and has fond memories of winning at St Andrews at 2002 and 2006, the year he went on to capture the then Order of Merit title for the first time.

"This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year," he said.

"Obviously it's one of my best opportunities of winning an event - not often do we get to play links golf and I think the set-up really suits me well."

Harrington is a confirmed entry in the $5 million Singapore Open, one of several money-spinning events at the end of the regular European Tour season and on Wednesday organizers confirmed that Phil Mickelson will also be in the field for the tournament which starts on October 29.

Mickelson, Harrington and Tiger Woods will then lock horns in the World Championship golf event in Shanghai the following week.

Meanwhile, Swede Robert Karlsson defends his title in Scotland this week, making an emotional return to the home of golf after being sidelined with an eye problem which raised questions about his future in the sport.

Karlsson won a dramatic playoff last year and went on to finish the season as Europe's number one, but he suffered problems with his sight in May and was diagnosed with a blister on his left retina.

He has now made a full recovery after being out for four months and played in the losing Continental Europe team in the Vivendi Trophy last week.

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