Saturday 17 March 2018

Harrington claims share of lead

Padraig Harrington. Photo: Getty Images
Padraig Harrington. Photo: Getty Images

Two late eagles saw Padraig Harrington claim a share of the lead at the Iskander Johor Open on eight under par following the first round at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

Having collected five birdies and one bogey over the preceding 15 holes, Harrington eagled the 16th and 18th to join Australian Marcus Both and Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the top of the leaderboard in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

"It was nice to finish eagle, par, eagle. That's a rare thing to do. It certainly bumped up my score," said the Irishman.

"It's a long way to go yet. You can always lose it on a Thursday but in regards to winning it, there's a lot of work to be done.

"It was a tough day with the wind. It was an awkward day and it's nice to return a score like that. I got the breaks and holed a few putts.

"At the end of the day, if you're going to shoot a 64, you've got to hole a few putts. I certainly holed two nice ones on 16 and 18 and holed three 15 footers as well."

Both fired eight birdies in his blemish-free round while Kiradech recorded an eagle, seven birdies and just one bogey.

"I've been playing better than my scores suggest," said Both.

"It was just a matter of time that I turned the corner and it's been frustrating. But today is only one day. The putter feels much better which has been letting me down and wasting shots."

The trio lead Korean pair Noh Seung-yul and Lee Sung by two strokes with a group of six players three shots off the pace on five-under.

Triumphant Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie is tied for 24th on two under par following a round of 70.

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