Sports Update: Padraig Harrington continues fine form with strong start at KLM Open

The Irishman is three shots off the pace in the Netherlands.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON CARDED five birdies during his opening round at the KLM Open this morning to leave the Irishman three shots adrift of the lead.

Harrington opened his tournament with three birdies in his opening nine holes, before dropping shots around the turn and reversing the damage late in his round.

The three-time Major winner finished his round with a score of 68, leaving him T17 alongside Lee Westwood and Richie Ramsay among others and three shots off leader, Chris Wood.

Happiest man in The Netherlands? 😄

Opening round 68 for @RyderCupEurope vice-captain Pádraig Harrington. pic.twitter.com/cadjnbAfSS

Opening birdies of the day came on 13, 17 and 18, with Harrington beginning his round on the 10th hole.

He did encounter some difficulty with the first hole, dropping his first shot of the afternoon before going on to card his second bogey on five.

Birdies on six and nine reversed the damage for the Dubliner and left him in good position heading into tomorrow’s second round. 

Harrington continues his fine recent form after a second place finish at the Czech Masters at the end of August, finishing two shots adrift of Andrea Pavan.

He came within a whisker of claiming his first win on the European Tour since the 2016 Portugal Masters and even shared the lead with Pavan heading into the final round.

Harrington was three shots clear with nine holes to go in the final round but was unable to hold off the Italian’s charge down the stretch.

Harrington’s last four European Tour wins:

🏆 2007 Open
🏆 2008 Open
🏆 2008 PGA Champ
🏆 2016 Portugal Masters pic.twitter.com/VZPmw5FaDR

Pavan, meanwhile, looks to make it back to two wins in his last three starts on the tour and got off to the perfect start with six birdies and just a single bogey to blemish his scorecard. The 29-year-old is just one shot off the pace after his opening round 66.

Harrington will return to the Portugal Masters next week before joining Thomas Bjorn’s preparation for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France where he will feature as one of four vice-captains.

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