Harrington, Dunne & Lowry off to fast starts in Turkey

Bernie McGuire
Bernie McGuire

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Padraig Harrington is the best placed of the Irish Trio competing at this week’s Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort.

Harrington is making the most of the tournament invite that was extended to him this week as he carded a flawless opening round of 65 which is his lowest score on the European Tour this season.

“If I drive it well, I can score and today I drove it really well” said Harrington. “I gave myself lots of chances, just kept it nicely in play all day. I left myself with a nice number of chances, converted a few of them, and it was a pretty easy six under par. I wish they were all like that.”

The Regnum Carya course certainly seemed to suit Harrington’s eye  as he said; “It’s just a nice golf course to play. There’s a lot of options. You’ll see guys hitting different clubs off different tees on the same hole, whether you want to fade or draw it into the trouble or away from it. It’s a nice test of golf like that.”

Two shots back from Harrington sits the in-form Paul Dunne who was very happy to shake off the cobwebs posting an opening 67 to lie in a tie for 10th.

“I actually was not hitting the ball great in practice this week and again warming up before today’s round,  so I am fairly happy with that today,” said Dunne. “I spent a lot of time on the range the past few days working on my game so it was nice to get out onto the course competitively and shoot a decent score”.

Dunne was out in a one under par 33 and then hit a hot patch on the greens as he poured in four birdies in five holes making gains on the  10,12, 13,and 14 before dropping his only shot of the day on the tough 17th.

“It was a pretty steady day scoring wise. I hit a few bad tee shots early on the first few holes but after that I settled down and played pretty nicely. I putted well without holing too much but the greens here are perfect and I didn’t miss any short ones that I should make so that’s always a good sign”

“I got on a good run around the turn with four birdies in five holes so I am pretty pleased with today’s return. Hopefully I can keep improving on this every day”

Shane Lowry sits just one shot further back in a tie for  14th after an opening 68.

In-form Joost Luiten made it a three-way tie for the lead after posting a bogey-free 64 to join Nicolas Colsaerts and Haydn Porteous at the top of the leaderboard.

Playing alongside Harrington today, Luiten who finished runner up to Masters Champion Sergio Garcia in his last European Tour appearance in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, appears to have his game in good shape again after carding seven birdies.

The Dutchman matched the earlier clubhouse target set by Belgian Colsaerts and South African Porteous, who had been in the first groups to tee of the first and 11th tees respectively.

Colsaerts eagled the 12th hole in his seven under par round of 64, while Porteous’s score owed much to a front nine birdie blitz, with the D+D REAL Czech Masters champion picking up five shots in his opening eight holes.

Justin Rose, winner of last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions, opened with a two under par round of 69 to sit five shots back. With just three events remaining in the 2017 European Tour season, Rose is seeking a strong performance in Turkey to put pressure on Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood, who bogeyed the last for a level par round of 71.

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