Padraig Harrington was at a loss to recall the last time he’d posted a double-figure tally on his scorecard in sending three shots into the drink and taking a ‘10’ on day one of the Turkish Airlines Open.
Europe’s Ryder Cup captain put three balls into the water at the par-5 fourth hole of the Montgomerie Maxx course and while dropping to six-over through six holes, Harrington bravely regroup to sign for a three-over par 75 to be sharing 71st place in the 75-player event.
Harrington trails 10 shots adrift of the leading duo of England’s Tom Lewis and Austrian playing partner, Matthias Schwab.
Double Turkish Airlines champ, Justin Rose posted a five-under par while playing partners and Race to Dubai rivals, Bernd Wiesberger and Shane Lowry struggled.
Wiesberger signed for a one-under par 71 and Lowry struggled on the greens in managing a first hole birdie and a bogey at 13, alongside 16 pars.
Harrington arrived at the fourth, a hole with water all down the left side, knowing he had narrowly avoided making any sort of a splash a day earlier in the Pro-Am. But not on this day, and the first round of his 14th European Tour event this year.
The triple Major winner first put his drive into the water, took a ‘point-of-entry’ penalty shot only to see his 3-wood third shot fall short and momentarily looking like it may come to rest close to the water’s edge, but it was not the case.
He played a fifth from nearly the same spot as his third but also found the water, took a third penalty drop to be now lying seven from where he was well right of the green before chipping onto the green in eight and two-putting for his ‘10’.
“These things happen as I missed a short putt on the third hole and then I hit my drive solid on the fourth, thinking I had carried the water but it didn’t,” he said.
“I had pulled my drive in carrying the water in the Pro-Am and just hoping to get away with it today. I then took a drop and hit a lovely third shot and thought it was going to be on the green, and was walking away but it dropped into the water.
“My third shot had come out soft but then I took a second penalty, and thought I had hit that one well and again, it went into the water again.
“So, it came as a bit of a shock after hitting two nice 3-wood’s that only carried 245-yards instead of having 280-yards to the pin and thinking I had enough club. I thought I would get a 5-wood over the water, actually.
“As I said, these things happen. I have no idea as to why the shots came out softer out of the lie I had but then it was not a huge concern of mine at the time.
“I was thinking to myself that if I hit a good third shot onto the green and I made par then ….. it just hurt my momentum a bit. I then missed a short putt on the next hole, so there you go.
“I can’t recall the last time I had a 10 on my card and while it was good to get back to just three-over, it is a very easy golf course with every par-5 reachable.
“So, if you drive the ball well you are going to have a bumper day. It just sets-up well for the good hitting and they’ve set the pins up that if you are out of position then your round is going to be awkward and if you are in position, everything is very accessible and there is plenty of birdies to be made as you have you seen by the scoring.
“Hopefully, for me there will be plenty of birdies over the next three days.”