Harrington four off the pace on Champions Tour return

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Pádraig Harrington’s bid for a hat trick of Dick’s Sporting Goods Opens got off to a good start as he carded a four-under-par 68.

Harrington is four shots off the early lead set by Stephen Ames in a share of seventh place.

The Hall of Fame golfer was level-par through eight holes before three birdies in four holes kickstarted his round. His only dropped shot came at the par-3 14th but he responded with two birdies in his last three holes.

Canada’s Ames holds a one shot lead over Steve Allan on eight-under-par after a bogey-free 64.

“I just played golf. I hit some nice — hit some quality golf shots. Tough to hit a lot of fairways on this golf course, they’re extremely narrow, but I think the opportunities, when I did hit the fairway, I made some birdies on it. Other than that, putted nicely and didn’t make any mistakes.”

Ames hit seventeen out of eighteen greens in round one, missing the par-3 14th but getting up and down.

“I said, that kind of makes up for the fact that you miss a couple fairways. I mean, you miss a couple fairways out here, the golf course, depending on what you’re hitting off the tee, you’re hitting anywhere from 9-iron to sand wedge. Yeah, made life a little easier there.”

Darren Clarke is plus one after a 73.

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