Padraig Harrington’s bid to take another step closer to the Charles Schwab Cup title got off to a positive start at the Constellation Furyk & Friends in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Dubliner carded six birdies and three bogeys in a three-under 69 at Timuquana Country Club to hold an early share of sixth place, two shots off the lead held by Steve Flesch, Rob Labritz and tournament host Jim Furyk.
In his rookie seniors season, Harrington is looking to come home with all the marbles on the Order of Merit standings and, currently second, could take another significant step towards leader Steven Alker – who is not playing this week – with a win.
He’ll need a good round on Saturday to chase down the leading trio, with Flesch, Labritz and Furyk all opening with 67s to hold an early one-shot lead over Ken Tanigawa and Mike Weir.
Flesch and Furyk both signed for six birdies and one bogey in their rounds, while Labritz had one more of each score as he joined them at the top in a bunched leaderboard that sees three shots separate the top-23.
It was a tougher opening round for Darren Clarke, though, as he could only manage a five-over 77 to sit tied for 73rd after the first day’s action.
The defending Seniors Open champion signed for just one birdie, four bogeys and a double-bogey and will need to go very low in his second round just to stick around for Sunday.