Harrington blew hot and cold at Celtic Manor - struggling in the tournament proper but shooting a 62 in the practice rounds. Lynne Cameron/PA Archive
Iskandar Johor Open

Harrington roars into contention in Malaysia

The Irishman puts his off-form Ryder Cup behind him to card an opening day 64 and tie for the lead.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON has put his out-of-sorts Ryder Cup form behind him to storm into a first-round lead at the Iskandar Johor Open in Singapore.

After struggling to putt properly two weeks ago at Celtic Manor, the Dubliner shot two eagles and five birdies on his way to a 64, carding just one bogey, rallying in the opening and closing holes to finish in a tie for the lead.

Harrington birdied the opening three holes to start well, continuing solidly to pick up another shot at the ninth before picking up his only bogey of the day at the challenging 11th.

He recouped the bogey shot at the 13th, and then eagled the par-four 16th and par-five 18th to confirm his superb opening round, tied for the overnight lead with Marcus Both of Australia and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

In a field with few European players (the tournament is, admittedly, part of the Asian tour – most of Europe’s best are competing in the Portugal Masters), Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie shot an opening day 70 to lie on two under, in a tie for 24th.

In Portugal, meanwhile, Darren Clarke is faring best of the Irish, two off the lead after 13 on -3 for the day. Other Irishmen including Paul McGinley, Peter Lawrie, Shane Lowry and Damien McGrane have yet to tee off.