Harrington and Hoey lead as play is suspended

Irish players Pádraig Harrington and Michael Hoey shared the lead at one under par with Ian Poulter and Holland’s Robert-Jan Derksen at the Nissan Irish Open today.

Irish players Pádraig Harrington and Michael Hoey shared the lead at one under par with Ian Poulter and Holland’s Robert-Jan Derksen at the Nissan Irish Open today.

Strong winds had made scoring difficult all morning and play was eventually was suspended at 11.40am when balls began moving on the elevated greens, particularly the exposed par-four fifth.

Harrington had been on the fifth tee when play was halted.

“This could be a big blow to anyone playing this morning,” he said. “We might play again at 6pm this evening when the wind drops and the later starters get to play 36 holes tomorrow when it’s not windy.”

Joint leader Poulter had to put the disappointment of Arsenal’s Champions League final defeat behind him to complete his first 13 holes.

Gunners fan Poulter had chartered a seven-seater plane to take himself, his father, fellow professional Simon Khan and several friends to Paris straight after Wednesday’s pre-tournament pro-am.

The 30-year-old then had a car on standby outside the Stade de France to whisk them to the airport and back to Dublin by around midnight.

Carton House is around a 30-minute drive from Dublin airport but Poulter was on the tee in time for his 7.50am start time, alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Paul McGinley and Kenneth Ferrie.

A bogey five on the 10th, his opening hole, came as no real surprise as the field struggled to cope with the strong wind and 7,301-yard Colin Montgomerie-designed course.

Three birdies and one more bogey in his next eight holes took Poulter to the turn in 35, one under par, and he followed that with four pars.

At 605 yards, the par-five fourth hole is long enough in normal circumstances, but in today’s strong wind Poulter needed a full seven iron for his third shot to the green.

He then had to back away from his par putt as the wind threatened to move the ball on the green, but safely holed to remain one under.

Leaderboard:

1 under - Ian Poulter (after 13 holes) *

Pádraig Harrington (12) *

Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) (10) *

Michael Hoey (8) *

Level par – Angel Cabrera (Arg) (13) *

Peter Hedblom (Swe) (14) *

Paul Casey (12) *

Alexandre Rocha (Bra) (8) *

David Dixon (10) *

Joakim Backstrom (Swe) (9).

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