Irish Open: Padraig Harrington finds Lahinch 'a stroll in the park'
By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 04/07/19 10:08pm
Padraig Harrington admitted he found Lahinch easier than expected after making a fast start to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
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The Ryder Cup captain carded his lowest opening round in 18 years on the European Tour, with a seven-under 63 giving him a one-shot advantage over South Africa's Zander Lombard.
Harrington missed the start of the season with a wrist injury and arrived in Ireland with three missed cuts in his past four starts, but was pleased to make an encouraging start.
"Every week feels like my first week out, trying to find my game, but links golf suits me because you can really work your way around," Harrington said.
"I had neutral expectations. I just wanted to take stock of my game and did not expect a 63, but it was a bit of a stroll in the park. I've worked a lot harder to shoot 73, that's for sure.
"It was buzzing out there and it would only be bettered if I did it on Sunday, but if you don't do something on Thursday you won't be around for Sunday anyway. All this does is create a number of scenarios where I can go on and win this tournament."
Lombard birdied four of his last five holes to post a six-under 64 and grab outright second, with Eddie Pepperell in the group two strokes off the pace on his return from injury.
"I wasn't expecting that," said Pepperell, who has not featured since the PGA Championship in May. "I've been off for a long time and it wasn't like I was absolutely flushing it in practice.
"I played a good round of golf to be fair. Pretty chuffed with that. I hit some good short game shots from some tricky spots. I I did feel like my whole game was pretty good."
Watch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 10.30am on Sky Sports Golf.