Nightmare start for Padraig Harrington at the Irish Open

Former winners Ross Fisher and Padraig Harrington experienced contrasting starts when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open got under way at the K Club on Thursday.

As heavy rain showers greeted the early starters, 2010 champion Fisher birdied three of his first five holes to move to the top of the leaderboard, a shot ahead of Wales's Bradley Dredge and England's Andrew Johnston.

But after starting his round on the back nine with a birdie on the 10th, three-time major winner Harrington ran up a seven on the 11th to slump to two over par.

Harrington, who defeated Dredge in a play-off at Adare Manor in 2007, found a fairway bunker off the tee and pushed his recovery shot into the trees, from where he could only hack out sideways.

The 44-year-old's approach then came up short of the green and after chipping to two feet, he missed the putt and tapped in for a triple bogey.

On the other side of the course, Dredge had started with six straight pars before carding birdies on the seventh and eighth, while Spanish Open winner Johnston had opened with birdies on the 10th and 11th.

Tournament host Rory McIlroy was among the later starters as he looked to end a streak of three straight missed cuts in his home event, the world number three also seeking a first win of the season after six top-10 finishes.

Players and caddies were wearing black ribbons as a mark of respect to former Ryder Cup star Christy O'Connor Snr, who died last week at the age of 91.

It was Fisher's turn to card a seven when he found trouble on the par-five 16th, but the former Ryder Cup player bounced back to birdie the 18th and reach the turn in two under par.

In the tough conditions that was good enough for a share of the lead with Dredge, Tyrrell Hatton and France's Thomas Linard, with Harrington five shots off the pace after following a double bogey on the 15th with a birdie on the 16th.

Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was level par after nine holes, with Shane Lowry - who won the title in 2009 while still an amateur - a shot further back after eight holes.

More on this topic

Castlerock states case for Irish OpenCastlerock states case for Irish Open

As The Open starts in Northern Ireland – 5 of the most beautiful golf courses around the worldAs The Open starts in Northern Ireland – 5 of the most beautiful golf courses around the world

Rampaging Rahm now targets Seve hat-trickRampaging Rahm now targets Seve hat-trick

‘Mixed emotions’ but dogged Dawson moving up the ranks‘Mixed emotions’ but dogged Dawson moving up the ranks

More in this Section

Pogba desperate to play for Man United again despite links with move – SolskjaerPogba desperate to play for Man United again despite links with move – Solskjaer

Lampard refuses to accept Chelsea can end Man United’s Champions League hopesLampard refuses to accept Chelsea can end Man United’s Champions League hopes

BBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ commentsBBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ comments

Football rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem SterlingFootball rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem Sterling


Lifestyle

New York’s most stylish actors are loving the cosy cardi look, says Katie Wright.Cardigans are cool again: how to wear them celeb style

When relaxing is just too much effort.The rise of the ‘micro-cation’ – the latest millennial travel trend

It’s becoming a growing problem.What should you do with your e-waste?

Oh, the shame of flygskam!Travel Notes with Tom Breathnach: Lighten your footprint

More From The Irish Examiner