Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley wound back the clock to finish tied in second place on a extremely tough opening day at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
The double Dunhill winning Harrington posted a three-under par 69 and then was joined by McGinley who was competing in the last match on day one of the annual pro-am event but three-putted his last hole to finish tied with Harrington and three others in second, just a shot adrift of the leading duo of England’s Matt Wallace and Aussie Marcus Fraser.
It was taxing day for both pros and amateurs with Harrington and McGinley fighting 30mph cross-winds at Kingsbarns.
McGinley had commenced his round with a first hole bogey and in between his starting and ending bogey he managed five birdies including back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17.
Shane Lowry was next best of the Irish with a birdie on 12 and a bogey on 15 for a level par 72 at Kingbarns Links.
“It was a tough day in the office and I haven’t played in these conditions for a long while where you are hitting 8-irons 120-yards, so it was very tricky,” he said.
“So, I am pretty happy with a 72 but I am also pretty tired as the conditions do wear you out and as funny as this sounds, I am half looking forward to Carnoustie tomorrow.”
Graeme McDowell looked pleased to birdie his closing hole in a round of 77 but only after playing the prior 17 in six-over par.
But sticking out on McDowell’s scorecard like a pair of sore thumbs were a double-bogey ‘6’ at the short par-4 14th he was playing as his fifth and a horror triple-bogey ‘6’ at the ‘across the edge of water’ par-3 15th.
“I had a really tough start and I just struggled on the greens in these really tricky conditions,” he said.
“I’ve also just had six weeks off and experienced the excitement and passion of regaining the Ryder Cup and then to come here to be playing in 30 mph cross-winds was not that good.”
“There was just the two bad holes at 14 and 15 that hurt my round, so I was happy after that with the way I steadied the ship and hung in there. My only main concern is that my iron-play was a bit rusty and I do need to fix that as everything else is not too bad.”
Other Irish scores
74 – Michael Hoey, Robin Dawson
78 – Paul Dunne