Harrington hits the front

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Padraig Harrington began The Barclays in fine style, carding a 64 to hold a one shot lead after the opening round.

Padraig Harrington began The Barclays in fine style, carding a 64 to hold a one shot lead after the opening round.

The Irishman hasn’t bagged a title since 2010 and has endured a horror season that means even a win this weekend will not be enough to secure automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup later this year.

However, after European captain Jose Maria Olazabal said that Harrington needed “at least a win” to be in contention for a wildcard spot, he has set about achieving just that.

Having taken the turn at Bethpage in 35, Harrington came to life on the back nine, rolling in six birdies over the last eight holes.

Sitting on seven-under, Harrington is one shot clear of Nick Watney and Brian Harman.

A group of four that includes Sergio Garcia are a further shot adrift while Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson are three of those on four-under.

Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els form part of a large group who shot three-under 68s. Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are a further shot back.

Donald will be disappointed not to find himself further up the leaderboard after taking the first nine on three-under but he was unable to muster anything other than pars on the closing nine.

World number one McIlroy had an up and down round, with five birdies mixed with three bogeys.

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