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‘Relaxed’ Harrington sets pace in Bermuda

TRIPLE major winner Pádraig Harrington, a late addition to the four-man field, birdied three of the last five holes to grab a two-shot lead after yesterday’s opening round of the end-of-season PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.

THE 41-year-old, who replaced British Open champion Ernie Els in the elite event which brings together the winners of the year’s four majors, fired a sparkling five-under-par 66 at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton.

In a relaxed and chatty mood with his playing partners, Harrington sandwiched birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th around a bogey at the 16th to finish two strokes clear of American Bubba Watson, the Masters champion.

Webb Simpson, winner of this year’s US Open, was a further shot back after carding a 69 in the 36-hole event while fellow American Keegan Bradley, the defending champion, shot a 72.

“I always try to make an effort to enjoy the day, talk to my playing partners,” Harrington said after mixing seven birdies with two bogeys. “We were all very relaxed out there. Selfishly, I play better when the whole group enjoys it.”