Padraig Harrington kept up his recent run of form with a three-under-par 68 at the KLM Open following his best performance on the European Tour for nearly two years on his last start in the Czech Republic.
The three-time Major Champion, whose last victory came at the Portugal Masters in October of 2016, was in contention right up until the end of the D+D REAL Czech Masters and narrowly missed out on adding to his 15 European Tour titles after a back nine birdie blitz from eventual champion Andrea Pavan.
Fresh from a two-week break, the Dubliner, who claimed second place outright in Prague, fired five birdies en route to an encouraging opening where he finds himself at three-under and in a tie for 27thafter day one in Holland.
He finds himself four shots behind Ashun Wu who took advantage of ideal conditions during the opening round by posting a bogey-free 64 to lead by one after 18 holes.
The two-time European Tour winner was in imperious form at a sun-baked The Dutch, carding five front nine birdies to reach the turn in 31 before bagging two more gains over his closing nine to post the blemish-free score – his lowest round this season.
The Chinese player, whose last European Tour victory came in 2016 in Austria, continues his recent fine run having carded rounds of 70-65-65-70 in Switzerland last week where he finished tied sixth – his best result of 2018.
One adrift of Wu is Chris Wood who also went bogey free during the first day in Spijk, picking up six birdies to sign for a six under par 65.
A cluster of 13 players sit one shot further back on five under par after Day One, including Eddie Pepperell who continues to thrive at The Dutch, where he claimed a share of third place in the 2017 KLM Open.
Also in that group is American Kevin Stadler who impressed during his first appearance on the European Tour since 2014 by signing for a five under par score of 66.