Padraig attacks at The Grove
Padraig Harrington’s attacking policy paid dividends as he took a share of the early lead in the American Express world championship at The Grove near Watford today.
Padraig Harrington’s attacking policy paid dividends as he took a share of the early lead in the American Express world championship at The Grove near Watford on Thursday.
The golfing gods still seemed to be shining on Darren Clarke when, paired with Tiger Woods, he sank a bunker shot at the 379-yard first.
One of the 11 European Ryder Cup heroes on view at the event – fellow Dubliner Paul McGinley failed to qualify – Harrington went over the trees and straight for the green on the dogleg hole.
He carried it all the way to the back of the putting surface, chipped to five feet and then made an eight-footer on the long second to advance to two under par.
Four years ago Harrington won the Dunhill links championship at St Andrews seven days after the Ryder Cup triumph at The Belfry, and his start this afternoon made him joint leader with Australians Adam Scott and Robert Allenby and also American Ryder Cup player Stewart Cink.
Clarke and Woods took a more safety-first approach to the first – and while Clarke matched Harrington’s three in dramatic fashion, Woods was 20 feet away in two, but missed the putt.
Over on the back nine Colin Montgomerie bogeyed the 12th and then was in the ditch on the short 12th for another bogey. When he dropped a third shot in a row he was in last place.
The tournament began with the withdrawal of United States captain Tom Lehman, who made the decision so he could attend tomorrow’s funeral of golf legend Byron Nelson.
“I was looking forward to competing this week, but I felt I had an obligation to return home to honour one of the game’s all-time great players and gentlemen,” said Lehman.
Nelson, winner of two Masters, one US Open and two US PGA titles and also of an amazing 11 consecutive tournaments in 1945, passed away at his home in Texas on Tuesday at the age of 94.
Lehman had been hoping, of course, to be basking in the glory of a Ryder Cup victory this week, but his side suffered a record-equalling nine-point defeat at the K Club in Ireland on Sunday.
He is expected to be replaced by Paul Azinger in the next month, while Nick Faldo has already been appointed as Ian Woosnam’s successor.
Lehman’s withdrawal today reduced the size of the field to 62.
Jon Rahm will hope for more favourable conditions at Torrey Pines this week
Rahm was overheard complaining furiously about the relatively-easy test posed by the three courses used for The American Express last week.
Collin Morikawa has a lot to work on ahead of Dubai Desert Classic
The two-time major winner spent a long time on the practice range on Monday.
Thomas Pieters hopes Abu Dhabi win inspires emerging Belgians
Pieters kept his cool to take victory.
Scott Jamieson to take one-shot lead into final round of Abu Dhabi Championship
There are five Ryder Cup stars within five shots of the Scot.
Windy conditions mean Rory McIlroy is relieved to get off the course
Gusts of up to 35mph made for challenging conditions in Abu Dhabi.
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson claims Abu Dhabi lead with course-record 63
The 28-year-old was one shot clear after the opening round at Yas Links.
Rory McIlroy taking inspiration from Tiger Woods ahead of Abu Dhabi Championship
The 32-year-old’s form since the Ryder Cup has given him “renewed optimism, excitement and anticipation”.
Collin Morikawa using Bahamas setback as motivation to become world number one
The two-time major winner squandered a five-shot lead on the final day at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last month.
Bryson DeChambeau: I don’t want to be a super-controversial figure
The big-hitting American was given some useful advice by Hollywood star Chris Pratt.
Webb Simpson eyeing Ryder Cup return after winless 2021
The American tees it up this week at the Sony Open, an event where he has a fine record.