Pádraig Harrington and Séamus Power make strong starts at Wyndham

Irish duo both shoot in the 60s in low-scoring first round as Russell Henley leads the way

Pédraig Harrington of Ireland and caddie Ronan Flood line up a putt during the first round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Pédraig Harrington of Ireland and caddie Ronan Flood line up a putt during the first round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

 

Break over, and a month on from his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour, Séamus Power got back to work in the heat of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country in Greensboro, North Carolina where he defied temperatures in the mid-30s to shoot a solid opening round of three-under-par 67.

For his part, Pádraig Harrington went one better, as the 49-year-old Dubliner - needing a big week to break into the FedEx Cup’s top-125 to advance to the end-of-season playoffs - posted a hugely impressive 66 which included a streak of three birdies in his four closing holes. Currently 168th in the FedEx standings, Harrington likely requires a top-three finish to move on to next week’s Northern Trust in New Jersey.

Power’s win in the Barbasol Championship last month has him safely inside that number and, following a three-week break which included a return home to celebrate with family and friends, the Waterford native confessed that it had been “a bit of struggle” in the days leading up to resuming life on tour.

“I was able to get around and actually started hitting it pretty well there on the front, my back,” said Power, who started his first round on the 10th.

Power had four birdies and a lone bogey on his card: his first birdie came at the Par 5 15th and he added another on the Par 4 17th where he hit a wedge approach of 129 yards to three feet, only to drop a shot on the 18th after driving into rough down the left and then finding a greenside bunker with his approach.

Thereafter, he improved with back-to-back birdies on the fourth - following an approach of 164 yards to inside two feet - and the Par 5 fifth. “Not what I wanted, but I’m in a good spot,” said Power of his 67. “It’s very hot out there. The golf course is fantastic, the greens are incredible, fast, they’re running as pure as you can possibly have. The rough is thick, a little thicker than the last few years so you’ve got to be on the fairways,” he observed.

Power’s form of late - which has seen him jump to 72nd in the FedEx Cup standings and to 116th in the official world rankings - has been among the hottest of any player on tour but, with the few weeks break, there was, he admitted, “always a little bit of unknowns . . . it’s getting closer to where I had it.”

Ahead of his return, Power had remarked: “My short game has always been good but my long game has lagged behind. This is the first time where, especially my irons, are in a really good spot. The driver’s coming around very quickly, so I’m really looking forward to this little stretch (of tournaments). It’s the first time I’ve ever known what I’m actually doing in terms of my own swing, so it’s very exciting to be honest.”

Harrington’s round was an impressive one, which saw Europe’s Ryder Cup captain continue to show decent form of his own with a haul of five birdies and just one bogey: he kick-started his round with a birdie on the Par 5 fifth only to drop a shot on the Par 3 seventh after missing the green left. In the sticky conditions, he managed to stay cool for a strong back nine - coming home in 31 strokes for his 66 - that saw birdies on the 12th from five feet, the Par 5 15th, the Par 3 16th from 12 feet and then a 20-footer to finish on the Par 4 18th.

Louis Oosthuizen withdrew prior to the start of the tournament as the in-form South African complained of a neck injury, while Patrick Reed also pulled out earlier in the week to focus on the upcoming FedEx Cup playoffs.

Russell Henley, seeking a first win on tour since his 2017 Shell Houston Open success, opened with a superb eight-under par 62 to claim the first round lead, two strokes clear of Sung Kang, Ted Potter Jr, Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk, Scott Piercy, Hudson Swafford and Adam Hadwin who still has two holes of his round to complete on Friday morning after darkness stopped play.

Will Zalatoris - currently the world number 29 but not yet qualified for the playoffs due to his temporary tour membership after progressing off the Korn Ferry Tour - opened with a two-under-par 68 in a tournament which he needs to win to attain full membership and move on to the Northern Trust.

Zalatoris, nursing a back injury, remarked of what he would need to do to move into contention: “I’ve just got to give myself some better looks. All my good looks were way above the hole and I had a couple of 40-, 50-footers today. Even shooting two-under and was pretty solid, I need to give myself some better chances and keep it below the hole.”

Completed first round scores from the Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield CC, Greensboro, North Carolina (USA unless stated, Par 70)

Play suspended for the day due to darkness and will resume at 7.30am local time

62 Russell Henley

64 Sung-Hoon Kang (Kor), Chris Kirk, Scott Piercy, Ted Potter Jr., Hudson Swafford, Michael Thompson

65 Michael Gligic (Can),

65 Kevin Kisner, Andrew Landry, Denny McCarthy, Tyler McCumber, Webb Simpson, Brian Stuard, Nick Taylor (Can), Erik van Rooyen (Rsa), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)

66 Mark Anderson, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Rafael Campos (Pur), K. J. Choi (Kor), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Branden Grace (Rsa), Pádraig Harrington (Irl), Sung Jae Im (Kor), Si Woo Kim (Kor), Matt Kuchar, Luke List, Sebastian Munoz (Col), Rob Oppenheim, Justin Rose (Eng), Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Adam Scott (Aus), Sepp Straka (Aut), Kevin Tway, Aaron Wise

67 Bo Hoag, Mark Hubbard, Michael Kim, Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor), Keith Mitchell, Francesco Molinari (Ita), Cameron Percy (Aus), Séamus Power (Irl), Andrew Putnam, Doc Redman, Chase Seiffert, John Senden (Aus), Scott Stallings, Harold Varner III, Bubba Watson, Richy Werenski, Ben Martin

68 John Augenstein, Joel Dahmen, Doug Ghim, Talor Gooch, Will Gordon, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Scott Harrington, Beau Hossler, Martin Laird (Sco), Nate Lashley, Ryan Moore, Kevin Na, Chengtsung Pan (Tai), Sam Ryder, Robert Streb, Bo Van Pelt, Camilo Villegas (Col), Will Zalatoris, Xinjun Zhang (Chn), David Lingmerth (Swe), Johnson Wagner

69 Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Scott Brown, Tyler Duncan, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Brice Garnett, Michael Gellerman, Kramer Hickok, Zach Johnson, Matt Jones (Aus), Nelson Ledesma (Arg), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Brandt Snedeker, Brendon Todd, Nick Watney, Matthew Wolff

70 Sebastian Cappelen (Den), Austin Cook, Brian Gay, Lucas Glover, Fabian Gomez (Arg), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Patton Kizzire, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Jason Kokrak, Peter Malnati, Matthew NeSmith, Chez Reavie, Adam Schenk, Robby Shelton, Davis Thompson, Gary Woodland, Josh Teater, Wes Roach

71 Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, Lanto Griffin, Brandon Hagy, J. T. Poston, Roger Sloan (Can), Kyle Stanley, D. J. Trahan, Martin Trainer, Kristoffer Ventura (Nor), Connor Arendell, Jacob Bergeron

72 Luke Donald (Eng), Jim Herman, Adam Long

73 Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Matthew Every, Tom Hoge

74 Ryan Armour, Russell Knox (Sco), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa)

76 Wyndham Clark

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