Pádraig Harrington gets off to a good start in Portugal with an opening of 67

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Still learning, still hungry. Pádraig Harrington may have turned 50 in August, but showed his ability to mix it up with the youngsters of the European Tour with a bogey-less round of 67 to be part of a sextet of players tied for fourth after the first round of the Portugal Masters during Dom Pedro Victoria in Vilamoura, where Italian Nino Bertasio won leadership honors in the first round.

Bertasio, a 33-year-old ranked 419th in the world and still looking for a first Tour victory, played an error-free round of 61 – 10 birdies and eight pars – to take a four-stroke lead over the Spanish Adri Arnaus. .

But Harrington – with little form over the summer and fall, which has seen him miss eight cups in 11 tournaments on the European and PGA tours since his best end of the season tied for fourth in the American PGA in May – showed much of their old selves in a well-built, thought-out ride.

The Dubliner made his debut on the Champions Tour in the United States last month and admitted the experience had focused his mind after being “sidetracked” by his senior colleagues.

“It kind of woke me up that although I have strengthened my weaknesses over the past few years, I have definitely weakened my strengths. [This] was a good day in that sense. I was much sharper. I got a good score. I didn’t hit the ball well, but I hit my corners better and gave myself a lot of chances, ”said Harrington.

Starting at the 10, Harrington won his first birdie in the 11th par four, then birdied back-to-back on the 15 and 16 and got another at the par-five fifth hole for a solid start that put him in a group. alongside twins Hojgaard, Rasmus and Nicolai, Benjamin Hebert, Lucas Bjerregaard and Callum Shinkin.

“It’s an interesting course in the sense that there are a lot of risk-rewards. I am comfortable on this golf course. There are a lot of intimidating shots, but with the rough down sometimes it’s better to jump a bit. You can do it here. You need a smart head on this course this week, ”observed Harrington, winner of the Arnold Palmer-designed route tournament in 2016, which was the last of his 15 career wins on the European Tour.

Harrington turned out to be the best of the Irish Algarve trio of players. Jonathan Caldwell had a share of the course lead at one point when he went down to four under the 10 holes, but struggled to get in and eventually signed for a 69 under two (to be at tie-23rd) while Cormac Sharvin, in a tough fight to keep his tour card, collapsed to a 76 (tied-100th).

“I drove really well and everything clicked. I wasn’t expecting a 61, but I played some good golf, ”said Bertasio whose only top 10 this year came at the Savannah Classic in Kenya in March. However, the Italian finished in the top 20 in each of the last two Spanish swing tournaments in the last few weeks before Portugal.

On the PGA Tour, Matthew Wolff broke a new sizzling, bogey-less 10-under 61 course record to take the clubhouse lead in the World Wide Technology at the Mayakoba Championship in Mexico to claim a two-stroke lead over his American compatriot Aaron Wise.

S̩amus Power continued his recent good form with a first round of three under par 68 Рunderscored by a birdie hat-trick from 13-15 Рto be the best of the three Irish in the field. Graeme McDowell opened with an under 70, but Shane Lowry suffered a disastrous finish, missing his last three holes Рthe 16th, 17th and 18th Рto sign for a par 71 level that put him in a battle to survive. the cutting.

Wolff, finalist in the Open Shriners for Kids last month, said: “I’m really confident in my game right now. I have proven over time that things are going well and I am confident that I can continue.

“So right now my swing is really good, my head is in the right place. I am just happy. It is not easy [on tour] and there are a lot of ups and downs you just have to deal with and that’s something i learn as i get older.

Portugal Masters Ranking – British and Irish unless otherwise indicated, par 71

61 Nino Bertasio (Italy)

65 Adria Arnaus (Spain)

66 Gavin Green (Mal)

67 Nicolai Hoejgaard (Den), Rasmus Hoejgaard (Den), Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Callum Shinkwin, Padraig harrington, Benjamin Hébert (French)

68 Wil Besseling (Ned), Min-Woo Lee (Aus), Steven Brown, Mikko Korhonen (End), Grant Forrest, Marcus Armitage, Sam Horsfield, Thomas Pieters (Bel), David Law, Pep Angles (Esp), Kalle Samooja ( End), Oliver Wilson, Matthieu Pavon (Fra)

69 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Stephen Gallacher, Alexander Levy (Fra), Kristoffer Broberg (Sweden), Jonathan caldwell, Joachim B Hansen (Den), Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry), Tapio Pulkkanen (End)

70 Richard Bland, Sami Valimaki (Fin), Pablo Larrazabal (Esp), John Catlin (USA), Antoine Rozner (Fra), Robert MacIntyre, Ross McGowan, George Coetzee (Rsa), Andy Sullivan, Laurie Canter, Michael Lorenzo-Vera ( Fra), Richie Ramsay, Sean Crocker (USA), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), David Horsey, Oliver Fisher, Francesco Laporta (Ita), Matthew Jordan, Ricardo Santos (Por)

71 Chris Wood, Alexander Bjoerk (Swe), Romain Langasque (Fra), Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Scott Jamieson, Chris Paisley, Julian Suri (USA), Justin Walters (Rsa), Ross Fisher, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Jack Senior, Vitor Lopes (Por), Tomas Gouveia (Por)

72 Niklas Lemke (Sweden), Thorbjoern Olesen (Den), Victor Perez (Fra), Marcus Kinhult (Sweden), Matt Wallace, Joost Luiten (Ned), Daniel Gavins, Ignacio Elvira (Esp), Adrian Otaegui (Esp), Renato Paratore (Ita), Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Jordan Smith, Andrew Johnston, Edoardo Molinari (Ita), David Drysdale, James du Preez (Rsa), Jack Singh-Brar

73 Connor Syme, Eddie Pepperell, Richard McEvoy, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Zander Lombard (Rsa), Alvaro Quiros (Esp), Robert Rock, Jamie Donaldson, Robin Roussel (Fra)

74 Graeme Storm, Sebastian Garcia (Esp), Julien Guerrier (Fra), Marc Warren, Oliver Farr

75 Scott Hend (Aus), Ashley Chesters, Haydn Porteous (Rsa), David Howell

76 Sebastian Soederberg (Sweden), Calum Hill

76 Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Joel Stalter (Fra), Cormac Sharvin

77 Victor Dubuisson (Fra)

78 Pedro Neves (Por)

79 Jorge Campillo (Spain)

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