Padraig Harrington gave the large crowd in sunny Lahinch plenty to cheer about during a sparkling opening round of 63. He hit four birdies on the front nine and added four more on the back nine. The only blemish on his card was a bogey on the par 3 eleventh hole.
His fine round today came as a pleasant surprise to the large home crowd, and also to the man himself. As in the build-up to this event, Harrington had spoken about using it primarily as a warm up for the Open in Portrush in two weeks time, as he works to recover full fitness after a recent wrist injury. He said “I haven’t got quite the same range of motion, but I seem to have enough to swing the golf club. I’ve got a little bit of soreness if I overdo it”. There was little evidence of any impairment in his play today and hopefully, it won’t hamper his play as the week goes on.
— RTEgolf (@RTEgolf) July 4, 2019
He now sits a single shot ahead of South African Zander Lombard, who carded four birdies in his last five holes to jump up the leaderboard. Harrington is two clear of a group of five players on -5, including Wade Ormsby who led for much of the morning as he had a good head start on the field after teeing off at in the first threeball at 6:45 am. Offaly man Shane Lowry is part of a group of nine players a shot further back on -4. Lowry’s round started poorly with an early bogey on the third hole, but he then put together run of five birdies over the remaining 15 holes to get back to the clubhouse with a round of 66. Another Irishman, Portmarnock’s Robin Dawson, had joined that group sitting on -4 after the 11th, before a dropping a couple of shots towards the end of his round and signing off on a 68. Northern Irelands Cormac Sharvin also sits on -4 after a fine 66 earlier today.