Padraig Harrington steals the show at Irish Open with sizzling 63
Padraig Harrington made the most of a return to home soil as he grabbed a two-shot lead on the opening day of the Irish Open in County Clare.
The 47-year-old Irishman thrilled the home crowds and further underlined his reputation as a stellar links player with a stunning seven-under-par 63 in bright and sunny conditions at Lahinch Golf Club.
Birdies at the second and fifth holes were followed by three straight gains at the eighth, ninth and 10th, before he dropped his first and only shot of the day at the par-3 11th.
But Harrington quickly erased any further loss of momentum with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 to race into the lead on six under, and a closing birdie at the par-5 18th after a sublime chip out of a greenside bunker was the icing on the cake.
It was his lowest first round on the European Tour for 18 years, and his lowest ever in the Irish Open.
Afterwards, he couldn’t help but take a dig at his 100/1 odds prior to the start of the tournament.
“It was a stroll in the park 63,” said the Ryder Cup captain. “I couldn’t have asked for more in shooting a low one. It seemed easy. I got a few breaks.
“Someone said I was 100/1 – they’re pretty good odds. Only a fool would discount me on a links.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 4, 2019
Several players are tied for second, two shots back, including Australian Wade Ormsby, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, and English duo Lee Slattery and Eddie Pepperell.
An even bigger group follows a further shot behind – home favourite Shane Lowry; a resurgent Martin Kaymer, chasing a spot in the Open; and two more Englishmen, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.
Some big names follow on three under, including Spaniard Jon Rahm, the highest ranked player in the field, and England’s Tommy Fleetwood, the second highest.
Track the latest live scores from the Irish Open by heading over to our LIVE score centre!
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.
Rory McIlroy crowned top golfer in Europe despite Jon Rahm claiming Dubai title
The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Leona Maguire shoots day’s best to tie Lydia Ko in chasing LPGA’s largest prize
Maguire is chasing her second title while Ko is close to claiming her second straight LPGA Tour player of the year.
Rory McIlroy edges ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in race to be European number one
McIlroy’s third round of 65 at the DP World Tour Championship put him back ahead of his rival in the rankings.
Lydia Ko firms lead for biggest prize in women’s golf history at LPGA finale
The 25-year-old turned a one-shot lead into a five-shot edge as she chased down the two-million-dollar (£1.6million) prize.
Matt Fitzpatrick leading race to become European number one
Rory McIlroy gave the Yorkshireman something to think about with a late blitz.
Lydia Ko in the lead for largest prize in women’s golf history at LPGA finale
The 25-year-old finished seven-under 65 in her bid to win the two-million-dollar (£1.6million) prize.
Matt Fitzpatrick moves into pole position to become European number one
Fitzpatrick is now projected to finish top of the DP World Tour rankings for the first time.