Explosive start sees Harrington move into contention at Portugal Masters

The Dubliner began his round with an eagle and four birdies in his first eight holes.

Padraig Harrington has found form in Portugal.
Padraig Harrington has found form in Portugal.
Image: Antonio Calanni

Updated at 17.40

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON IS just three shots off the lead at the Portugal Masters after carding an excellent, first-round 66 today.

The Dubliner began in explosive fashion, starting at the ninth, carding four birdies and an eagle in his first eight holes.

A bogey on 18 saw him make the turn in five-under 31 before a solid front nine, featuring one birdie, one bogey and seven pars, helped him post a competitive first-round total, which was good enough for tied-12th.

Harrington has struggled for form in 2016, recording just one top-10 finish — and that sixth-place result in January came in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, an event with just 31 in the field.

A 13th place in the US PGA Championship and his result of 21st at the Rio Olympics have been Harrington’s standout efforts of the year but he will be hoping to change that in Vilamoura this weekend.

Scotland’s Marc Warren is the first-round leader after a stunning eight-under 63 which saw him card nine birdies, six of them coming on his first six holes.

There are five in the immediate chasing pack on seven-under — David Lipsky of the US, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen and the English trio of Eddie Pepperell, Matthew Baldwin and Callum Shinkwin.

Paul Dunne and Michael Hoey are both well down the field in a tie for 107th, on two-over par, after both men carded 73s today.

The PGA Tour is in Malaysia this week for the CIMB Classic but no Irish golfers are in action.

Gavin Cooney
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The US trio of Derek Fauthauer, Keegan Bradley and Justin Thomas, the reigning champion, lead the way on eight-under with England’s Paul Casey just one shot in arrears.

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