Another bright start on the PGA Tour Champions has Padraig Harrington in the mix after the first day of the Mitsubishi Electric Classic as he sits four shots off the early lead in Duluth, Georgia.
The former European Ryder Cup captain signed for five birdies and two bogeys in a three-under 69 at TPC Sugarloaf to trail leaders Ken Duke and David Toms, but he is still in touch at the top after the opening round.
Duke and Toms both carded seven-under 65s on Friday, Duke recording one more birdie (eight) in his round but Toms going bogey-free, to lead by two strokes from Steve Flesch.
Harrington is in a share of eighth, such is the condensed scoring in Georgia, and after a promising outing at last week’s Insperity Invitational where he finished 25th, this is another strong start on the seniors circuit.
The 50-year-old, who started at the 10th, picked up back-to-back birdies at the par-fours 12 and 13 and despite dropping his first shot of the day at the par-four 15th, he would gain two more shots at the par-three 16th and par-five 18th to turn in three-under.
But he wouldn’t be able to kick on after the turn, a birdie at the par-five sixth immediately cancelled out by a bogey at the par-four seventh to drop him back, but he is still in with a shot going into the weekend.
Meanwhile, it was a rough opening round for Darren Clarke, who finished one place off bottom spot after the opening round and on course to miss the cut after a seven-over 79 that featured three double-bogeys.
The former Open champion had actually started the day superbly with back-to-back birdies at his opening two holes, but two of those doubles and two bogeys in his next five holes had him plummeting in the wrong direction, and he would add another double and two more bogeys on his way back to the clubhouse