European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington proved there’s plenty of playing in the skipper yet after posting a one-under par 71 on the opening day of the Porsche European Open.
The three-time Major winner fired five birdies, two bogeys and a double in a solid round of golf in testing conditions at Green Eagle Golf Courses to share 13th overnight, five strokes behind leader Paul Casey.
A rare venture on the Main Tour for Ardglass professional, Cormac Sharvin saw the 27-year old return a one-over par 73 after posting two bogeys and just the one birdie.
Michael Hoey is next best of the Irish raiders at plus-two, the same tally as Gavin Moynihan with the pair just inside the top-50 after a tough opening day in Hamburg.
At the top, Paul Casey defied conditions at Green Eagle Golf Courses to card a stunning six-under par round of 66, taking a one stroke lead into the second round.
The four-time Ryder Cup player carded five birdies on the back nine, adding to gains made on the first and seventh holes, to sit one stroke ahead of Austria’s Matthias Schwab, who occupies second place after a bogey-free round of five under par.
“It was a really good round of golf,” said Casey. “There were a couple of putts that slipped by, but that is such a difficult golf course. I was happy with the patience I was showing and the quality of strike, considering I hadn’t played well in the Pro-Am. Now I stand here happier. The score doesn’t really do it justice – that’s one of the finest rounds of golf I’ve played this year.
“I prefer it when it’s hot. I’ve always been a very good driver and I’m a good long iron player – that was demonstrated today. The three iron I hit into the 14th was good. It suits me, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I like easier golf courses, but this is the Porsche European Open – it is meant to be difficult. I’m here for a competition and I’m here because I want to win.”
Just 22 players in the 150-man field finished their first rounds under par after battling wind and rain on the Porsche Nord Course, which is the third-longest visited by the European Tour in 2019.
England’s Ben Stow set the early clubhouse lead on four under par and was joined on that number by Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre and German Max Rottluff. Rottluff is making just his fifth European Tour appearance this week.
Lucas Herbert built on his tied-eighth finish at last week’s Omega European Masters with a three under par start in Hamburg, joining Alexander Björk and Ben Evans in sixth place. Winner of the D+D Real Czech Masters last month, Thomas Pieters is one of four players four strokes behind Casey on two under par.
Full scoring HERE