Pádraig Harrington continues good form at KLM Open
Dubliner is in contention in the Netherlands while Paul Dunne turned around a bad start
Pádraig Harrington plays his second shot on the sixth hole during day one of the KLM Open at The Dutch in Spijk, Netherlands. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Pádraig Harrington’s two-week layoff after his best finish on the European Tour in two years didn’t have much of a negative impact on the Dubliner as he opened with a three under par round of 68 at the KLM Open in the Netherlands.
The three-time Major winner lost a three-shot lead on the back nine at the D+D Czech Masters in Prague a few weeks ago where Andrea Pavan went on to win.
However, Harrington – who will be a vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn at the Ryder Cup at the end of the month – got back on the birdie trail early in Spijk with three in his first nine holes after starting at the 10th.
A good round threatened to be derailed on the way in with bogeys at his 10th and 14th holes but he responded with further birdies at the 15th and 18th to sign for a 68, four shots off the lead held by China’s Ashun Wu who carded a bogey-free round of 64.
Paul Dunne is the only other Irish competitor in the field and the Greystones man is looking to find some form after back-to-back missed cuts in his last two starts and no top-10s since the China Open in April.
Early on it looked like it could be another frustrating week for the 2017 British Masters champion when he double bogeyed the Par 4 fifth. He did answer back with a birdie at the very next hole but a bogey at the eighth saw him go out in 37 shots, two over par.
But the 28-year-old showed good character on the back nine to battle back with birdies at the 12th, 15th and 16th to get under par for the day and sign for a round of 70, leaving him six shots off the lead.
England’s Chris Wood sits just one shot behind Wu after he had set the target at six under in the morning with a blemish-free effort of his own but Wu made seven birdies in the afternoon to hit the front, with 13 players then in the group at five under.
Bristolian Wood made the European Ryder Cup team in 2016 thanks to a win at the BMW PGA Championship but that was his last victory having finished twice so far this season in Oman and France.
The 30-year-old made birdies on the 13th, 14th, 15th, third, seventh and ninth, and was delighted with his putting performance.
“It was perfect out there this morning,” he told europeantour.com “The course is in such good condition and the greens are as good as any that we have played all year.
“When that is one of the best parts of your game it is great, especially when you get your eye in and knock a few in like I did today.”
Wu is a two-time winner on the European Tour and he made gains on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 18th, fourth and eighth.
Collated first round scores in the KLM Open, The Dutch, Netherlands (Britian & Irl unless stated, Irish in bold, par 71):
64 Ashun Wu (Chn)
65 Chris Wood
66 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Ashley Chesters, Bradley Neil, Matthew Southgate, Aaron Rai, Renato Paratore (Ita), Jason Scrivener (Aus), Kevin Stadler (USA), Andrea Pavan (Ita), Eddie Pepperell, Jordan Smith, Benjamin Hebert (Fra), Nino Bertasio (Ita)
67 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Matthew Nixon, Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Richard McEvoy, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa), Henric Sturehed (Swe), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha), Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Pedro Oriol (Spa)
68 Richie Ramsay, Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Hideto Tanihara (Jpn), Paul Peterson (USA), Haotong Li (Chn), Austin Connelly (Can), Nacho Elvira (Spa), Gregory Havret (Fra), Pádraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Soomin Lee (Kor)
69 Steven Brown, Jorge Campillo (Spa), Jonathan Thomson, Oliver Fisher, Adam Bland (Aus), Chase Koepka (USA), Connor Syme, Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Adrian Otaegui (Spa), Gavin Green (Mal), Steve Webster, David Horsey, Julien Guerrier (Fra), Scott Fernandez (Spa), George Coetzee (Rsa), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Jin-ho Choi (Kor), James Morrison, Max Albertus (Ned), David Drysdale, Sam Horsfield, Sebastien Gros (Fra), Justin Walters (Rsa), Sam Brazel (Aus), Alexander Levy (Fra)
70 Matthew Jordan, Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Johan Edfors (Swe), Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Paul Dunne, Wade Ormsby (Aus), Bradley Dredge, Richard Bland, Pontus Widegren (Swe), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Matthew Baldwin, Nick Cullen (Aus), Simon Khan, Jason Norris (Aus), Lucas Herbert (Aus), Marcel Siem (Ger), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Mark Foster, (a) Jerry Ji (Ned)
71 Mark Tullo (Chi), Charlie Ford, Lasse Jensen (Den), Daniel Brooks, Andrew Dodt (Aus), Pep Angles (Spa), Matthias Schwab (Aut), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Peter Hanson (Swe), Andrew Sullivan, Chris Hanson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Oliver Farr
72 Luke Joy, Daniel Im (USA), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Josh Geary (Nzl), Adrien Saddier (Fra), Laurie Canter, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Jurrian Van Der Vaart (Ned), Jeff Winther (Den), Romain Wattel (Fra), Ryan Evans, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry), Jens Dantorp (Swe), Ralph Miller (Ned)
73 Robbie Van West (Ned), Sebastian Heisele (Ger), David Howell, Angel Cabrera (Arg), Kim Koivu (Fin), Scott Jamieson, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Oscar Serna (Mex), Mark Reynolds (Ned), Reinier Saxton (Ned), Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa)
74 Andrew Johnston, Clement Sordet (Fra), Paul Waring, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Koen Kouwenaar (Ned), Simon Dyson, Jamie Elson, Rak hyun Cho (Kor), Davey Porsius (Ned), Thomas Detry (Bel), Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn)
75 Ricardo Gouveia (Por), Lukas Euler (Ger), Luca Cianchetti (Ita), Edoardo Molinari (Ita)
76 Dylan Boshart (Ned), Marc Warren, Zander Lombard (Rsa)
77 Kiet Van Der Weele (Ned), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Ross Fisher, Christofer Blomstrand (Swe)
78 Brett Rumford (Aus), (a) Stan Kraai (Ned), Alvaro Quiros (Spa)
80 Maarten Bosch (Ned), David Lipsky (USA)
82 Mikko Ilonen (Fin)
83 Aydan Verdonk (Ned)