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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 21 July, 2019
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Harrington off to slow start in Austria

The Dubliner carded a lacklustre 75 to finish the day well off the pace at the Austrian GolfOpen.

AFTER FAILING TO secure qualification for the closing stages of the FedEx Cup, Padraig Harrington hoped to get his season back on track with a strong showing at the Austrian GolfOpen.

A second-tier European Tour event, the tournament appeared to offer the three-time major champion the perfect environment in which to both consolidate his recent technical work with Pete Cowen, his coach of little over a month’s standing, and arrest his slide in the world rankings.

Indeed, after spending the vast majority of the previous decade comfortably ensconced within the world top twenty, Harrington has now slipped to a lowly 81st place in the most recent rankings.

With these priorities in mind, Harrington’s bid for a fifteenth European Tour victory began strongly, a pair of birdies on the sixth and seventh holes bringing to an end a run of five straight pars.

The Dubliner soon lost his equilibrium, however, with bogeys on the ninth, tenth and eleventh sending him plummeting down the leaderboard.

Two more birdies on the back nine couldn’t arrest his by now inexorable slide, however, and, by the time his approach to the par four 16th found the water, his chances of contending had effectively disappeared.

Harrington eventually signed for a three-over-par 75, enough for a tie of 87th place.

Wales’ Liam Bond currently heads the leaderboard after an impressive six-under-par round of 66. He’s followed closely by a quartet of players on five-under.

The round also marked the professional debut of English Walker Cup star and medallist at the 2011 Open Championship, Tom Lewis. The 20-year-old from Welwyn Garden City couldn’t make an instant delivery on his sizeable promise, however, and stuttered to modest 74.

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