Pádraig Harrington ‘delighted’ with Kuala Lumpur comeback
Ryder Cup captain opens with a 70 on return after breaking his wrist last November
Pádraig Harrington plays out of the sand on the third hole during the first round of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty
Pádraig Harrington was delighted with his return to competitive action in the Maybank Championship as he looks to make the most of his opportunities before the Ryder Cup captaincy “shuts down” his aspirations.
Playing his first event since November after breaking a bone in his wrist, Harrington carded a two-under-par 70 in the first round in Kuala Lumpur to lie five shots off the lead shared by Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Spain’s Nacho Elvira.
Austria’s Matthias Schwab, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Angelo Que from the Philippines are a shot off the pace, with Que playing his first 11 holes in nine under par to raise the prospect of the second 59 in European Tour history, only to suffer back-to-back double-bogeys on the 15th and 16th.
Harrington carded four birdies and two bogeys and the three-time major winner reported no serious problems with the wrist he injured during a fall at his home in mid-December.
“I certainly didn’t think about it out there, which is great,” Harrington told Sky Sports.
“I didn’t hit it very well, especially off the tee I really struggled, so it was a really good score at the end of the day, even to come off the last couple (of holes) thinking I might have made one or two more putts.
“But I holed a couple early on in my round to keep a bit of momentum in it, I could have easily slipped two or three over par. I kept it together on the back nine, used my head well and managed to get a reasonable score out of it. I’m delighted.”
Europe’s defence of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits is still 18 months away, but as a three-time vice-captain Harrington is well aware of the toll it usually takes on the game of the captains.
“It’s been busy enough (already),” he added.
“The actual announcement there was quite a bit of stress and then a few weeks of media, now it’s got into the early organisation, looking at team rooms and hotel rooms and stuff like that and trying to figure out how much you’ve got to get involved. It’s the nitty-gritty stuff.
“My thinking is I can probably play golf for about a year and then with six months to go it will certainly shut down pretty much all the aspirations I have on the golf course.
“Even though I will still play, there will be just too much going on.”
Collated first round scores in the European Tour Maybank Championship
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
(a) denotes amateurs
65 Nacho Elvira (Spa), Marcus Fraser (Aus)
66 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Angelo Que (Phl), Matthias Schwab (Aut)
67 Thomas Pieters (Bel)
68 Brandon Stone (Rsa), Dean Burmester (Rsa), Prom Meesawat (Tha), Nicholas Fung (Mal), Ernie Els (Rsa), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Zack Murrary (Aus), Poom Saksansin (Tha)
69 Ricardo Gouveia (Por), Terry Pilkadaris (Aus), S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind), Daniel James Masrin (Ina), Julian Suri (USA), Scott Hend (Aus), Lucas Herbert (Aus), Andrea Pavan (Ita), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Benjamin Hebert (Fra)
70 Kurt Kitayama (USA), Sang-hyun Park (Kor), Sihwan Kim (Kor), Marcus Kinhult (Swe), Siddikur Rahman (Ban), Richard McEvoy, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Jorge Campillo (Spa), Viraj Madappa (Ind), Paul Peterson (USA), Oliver Fisher, Thomas Detry (Bel), Travis Smyth (Aus), Scott Vincent (Zim), Padraig Harrington
71 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Shaun Norris (Rsa), Jake Higginbottom (Aus), Min Chel Choi (Kor), Ashun Wu (Chn), Robin Roussel (Fra), Robert Karlsson (Swe), Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa), Louis De Jager (Rsa), Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Chris Wood, Ryan Fox (Nzl), Guido Migliozzi (Spa), Chris Paisley, Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Shahriffuddin Ariffin (Mal), Keith Horne (Rsa), Jens Dantorp (Swe), Danthai Boonma (Tha)
72 Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Ross Fisher, Aaron Rai, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha), Andrew Sullivan, David Lipsky (USA), Johannes Veerman (USA), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Kristoffer Broberg (Swe), Ashley Chesters, George Coetzee (Rsa), Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind), Lee Slattery, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Yi-Keun Chang (Kor), Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry), Danny Chia (Mal)
73 David Law, Wei-Chih Lux (Tha), Alexander Bjork (Swe), Shinichi Mizuno (Jpn), Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Renato Paratore (Ita), Jason Scrivener (Aus), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Jarin Todd (USA), Robert Rock, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Adrian Otaegui (Spa), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe), Kenneth Ger Silva (Mal), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Khalin Joshi (Ind), Wen-Tang Lin (Tpe), Arjun Atwal (Ind), Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Min Woo Lee (Aus), Daisuke Kataoka (Jpn)
74 Ben Leong (Mal), Jesse Yap (Sgp), Yuki Inamori (Jpn), Berry Henson (USA), Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Chapchai Nirat (Tha), John Catlin (USA), Gavin Green (Mal), Hyun-woo Ryu (Kor), Rattanon Wannasrichan (Tha), David Howell, Matthew Southgate, Daniel Nisbet (Aus), Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Stephen Gallacher, Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Jordan Smith, Sam Brazel (Aus), R Nachimuthu (Mal)
75 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Steven Brown, Johnson Poh (Sgp), Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha), Yem Htet Aung (Mmr), Wilson Choo (Mal), Jason Norris (Aus), Romain Wattel (Fra), Ben Campbell (Nzl), Prayad Marksaeng (Tha), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Wade Ormsby (Aus), S Chikkarangappa (Ind)
76 Rahil Gangjee (Ind), Arie Ahmad Irawan (Mal), Sukree Othman (Mal), Darren Fichardt (Rsa)
77 Shiv Kapur (Ind), Natipong Srithong (Tha), Hideto Tanihara (Jpn), Nino Bertasio (Ita)
78 Leun-Kwang Kim (Mal)
79 Miguel Tabuena (Phl), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)
80 Adri Arnaus (Spa), Amir Nazrin (Ind), Shih-Chang Chan (Tpe)
Richard T Lee (Can)
81 Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (Tha), Kemarol Baharin (Mal), Jake McLeod (Aus), Yuta Ikeda (Jpn)