Sport Golf

Saturday 16 December 2017

Harrington defies heat with 69

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington felt every pound of his recently added weight and struggled with condensation on his new glasses as he hauled his 198lb frame through intense heat and humidity at Kuala Lumpur Country Club to an opening 69 at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Fellow Dubliner Peter Lawrie was Ireland's best on the day, posting a four-under 68, which left him three shy of leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand in the clubhouse when violent storms interrupted play.

World No 3 Luke Donald insisted jet lag was not a factor after finding himself nine shots off the lead.

Donald didn't arrive in Kuala Lumpur until Tuesday after finishing fourth in the defence of his Tampa Bay Championship at the weekend, a result which has him looking forward with optimism to the US Masters next month.

The 35-year-old was adamant the 12-hour time difference would not be a problem, but was, nevertheless, far from his best in compiling a two-over 74 in the sweltering heat.

Starting from the 10th, Donald dropped three shots in a row from the 11th and, after chipping in for birdie from short of the first green, ran up a double-bogey six on the second after pitching into a greenside bunker.

The former world No 1 then missed good birdie chances on the next two holes before holing from six feet on the fifth, while a closing birdie from similar range on the ninth at least boosted his hopes of making the halfway cut.

"It's one of those courses where if you are a little bit off it can get you. I did not play the hard holes very well and, when I did have opportunities, I couldn't take them on the greens," Donald said.

"It was one of those frustrating rounds where I got very little momentum."

Malaysian Open,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 6.0am

Irish Independent

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