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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Harrington makes solid start in Malaysia on return from broken wrist

The three-time Major is five shots off the lead at the Maybank Championship after suffering the injury in December.

Harrington is five shots off the joint-leaders.
Harrington is five shots off the joint-leaders.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

PADRAIG HARRINGTON HAS made an encouraging return by carding a two-under 70 in the opening round of the Maybank Championship in Malaysia, after suffering a broken wrist in mid-December.

The three-time Major winner hit four birdies and two bogeys to leave him just five shots behind the joint-leaders Marcus Fraser of Australia and Spain’s Nacho Elvira.

Harrington previously said that he sustained the injury when he ‘slipped whilst walking down the stairs at home’ but has made an impressive return with his first-round score in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to the European Tour media, Harrington admitted that he “didn’t play very well” but was glad to be back.

“It’s four months since I played a competitive round [so] I’m very pleased.

“I really struggled off the tee. It was a really good score at the end of the day, even to come off the last couple thinking I might have made one or two more putts but I holed a couple early on in my round to keep a bit of momentum in it.

“I could have easily slipped two or three-over par in my round. I kept it together on the back-nine and used my head well.” 

He added that his wrist feels “ok” since sustaining the injury, but admitted that he is still struggling with his thumb and little finger.

“When you put it in a cast for six months, it’s amazing how much periphery stuff that goes on so trying to get all the muscles and ligaments strengthened up…. I certainly didn’t think about it which is great.”

Meanwhile, Angelo Que was denied the outright lead after back-to-back double bogeys saw him slip down the leaderboard.

Que made a stunning start to day one in Kuala Lumpur as he birdied nine of his first 11 holes, but he came into trouble at 15 and 16 and dropped four shots.

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His six at the par-four 15th was followed by a five at the next hole – a par three – and although he got one shot back at the last, he remained one behind the joint-leaders.

“I thought I was dreaming when I got to nine-under after 11 holes,” said Que. ”But these things happen especially when you play well. You try not to think too much and get ahead of yourself by ignoring it and keep playing. But it sorts of plays on your mind too.

“I got unlucky on 15 where I hit the fairway but didn’t have a shot at the green. I got an unlucky lie and didn’t make up and down. It was the same story on the next hole.

“These things happen but [it was] lucky I still managed to make 10 birdies today. So, six-under is always a good score. I started off with a birdie and ended off with a birdie. So that’s nice.”

Fraser and Elvira, who both started on the back nine, bounced back from bogeys at the 14th to claim a share of top spot, the pair both signing for 65 to leave them seven-under.

Both players benefitted from favourable scoring conditions early on Thursday, with Elvira picking three shots in a row from the 11th.

Fraser was two-under at the same stage before making gains later in his round to reel in Elvira, a 20-foot putt at the seventh a particular highlight.

Matthias Schwab and Jazz Janewattananond sit alongside Que at six-under after rounds of 66, while Belgium’s Thomas Pieters is well placed on five-under and veteran Ernie Els is a shot further back in an eight-man group.

Additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell

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