Pádraig and Paddy well off the pace as Team Thomas lead Team Woods by two

Ronan MacNamara
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Padraig Harrington with his son Paddy Harrington at the 2022 PNC Championship (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Pádraig Harrington and his son Paddy are back in the pack and five shots off the pace set by Justin Thomas and his father Mike at the PNC Championship.

The Harrington’s are on ten-under-par after a 62 while the Thomas’s are on fifteen-under after a blistering 57.

Lurking in a share of second place alongside Team Singh are Tiger and Charlie Woods on thirteen-under.

The Harrington’s started and finished strongly but will rue playing holes 6 to 13 in just two-under-par in the scramble format and they will need to find a hot run similar to what Tiger and Charlie Woods went on in last year’s edition.

Team Woods went on a birdie barrage in last year’s final round that included eleven successive birdies and they embarked on a similar run in yesterday’s opening round to keep pace with Team Thomas.

After a birdie at the second Tiger rolled in a 25-footer on the par-3 4th which kickstarted a sensational run which included the big cat chipping in for eagle on the par-5 5th and fist pumping it home, it’s been a long time since we saw that. He may be a wounded cat but the competitive juices are still there.

Six consecutive birdies followed before birdies on 13, 14 and 18 ensured they kept pace with their playing partners Team Thomas and rekindled some old feelings.

“It was very similar to the feeling we had last year on Sunday. We just got rolling. I had a little bit of a chip-in and all of a sudden a couple putts fell, and we were just trying to give ourselves as many opportunities getting in the fairway, iron shots and putts, and we just got rolling.

“And we just had to try and catch up because the Thomases were off to a quick start, and we were behind and next thing you know, we’re tied. Unfortunately we are a little bit back and hopefully we’ll have another great day tomorrow.”

Tiger has been golf’s main attraction for the last 30 years or so but he admitted he will have to get used to perhaps sharing the limelight with his son this week, and how! Charlie is a carbon copy of his father. The mannerisms are scarily similar whether it be the, tug of the shirt on his shoulder, the stopping mid downswing or unfortunately collapsing post impact.

Charlie (13) has been carrying an ankle injury since rolling it on the driving range before the pro-am and it gave way on the par-5 5th as he hit his drive away.

“On some shots it hurt a lot. Walking was tough. But it was all right. It wasn’t that bad. Ankle has been a little iffy but it’s just been really fun playing with dad, the Thomases, the LaCavas, and of course Bones, too. Bones is part of that. It’s just a big family out there.”

Team Woods were runners-up last time out to the Daly’s and they will have their work cut out to arrest a two-shot gap to Team Thomas who are hunting a second title.

They started electrically, turning in just 28 shots courtesy of six birdies and an eagle and JT was pleased with how they putted.

“It was good. We played solid. I would say probably didn’t hit some wedges or irons as close as we would have liked but fortunately I think we both feel pretty good on these greens. And if I’m lucky enough to give my dad the right read, it seems like he makes it, and if not, I’m able to learn enough to knock it in sometimes. So it was a good day.”

The PGA Champion was also impressed with how Tiger played.

“I think he said that at Hero. He can hit any shot he wants and obviously some days are different than others. He said it himself: He has plenty of speed. He 100 percent hits it farther than I do with the driver right now, and when he’s feeling well and moving well like he was today, he can do anything he wants.

“So it’s nice that he has a cart and is able to enjoy this week.”

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