Padraig Harrington/Greenwood/Getty Images
The Barclays first round at Bethpage Black in New York got off to a red number start as Padraig Harrington shot a -7 under par 64, to lead the field by just one stroke. Padraig made a mockery of the red warning sign on the first tee, which reads, ” “The Black Course is an Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers.” Padraig remarked that as soon as he forgot how difficult it was supposed to be he started to think Birdie;
“The most interesting thing was it’s very hard to go out and play this course without thinking you’re playing a U.S. Open. The best I’ve struck my putts, the best I’ve rolled the ball for a long period of time. You’re going to need to be 12-under par at the end of the week, or, who knows? But it ain’t going to be level par.”
Padraig knows that he needs to win this tournament to have any chance of being called into the Ryder Cup team, he and European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal do not get on, and the three-time Major Champion knows he will have to force his way onto the team. Personally speaking I think Padraig should be there, his experience of playing in America is invaluable. Padraig admitted his chances were slim;
“I’m sure if I went and had a look at the odds, I would be a long-shot to make the team.”
Close behind at -6 under par are Nick Watney and Brian Harman who both cruised round with 65′s. Fifty one of 123 players managed to break par on the infamous Bethpage Black lay-out, not exactly the result everybody was predicting. There is only six shots separating 1st and 51st on the leaderboard, a real log jam, and tomorrows round looks to be exceptionally important.
Rory McIlroy, who relished the side-by-side with Woods, is looking forward to tomorrow;
” It was good, I thought I played really solid, especially starting off, three under through six. Got a little quiet around the middle of the round, and my short game let me down a couple of times. It definitely could have been a few shots better, but I’m happy with how I played. I felt like I had a lot of chances out there, and I had enough chances to shoot a low one. I don’t think I need to change the strategy at all of hitting a lot of drivers and trying to be aggressive, so we’ll just continue to do the same thing.”
Tiger, who finished one shot better than Rory was not best pleased with todays performance;
“I didn’t quite hit the ball as well as I would like. I’m going to do some work this afternoon and work on a couple things that I know I need to shore up for tomorrow. But I’m very pleased with the way I putted. I putted great today.”
The guys who really struggled today were, Boo Weekly and Jason Bohn at +7, Andres Romero at +8 and dead last all on his own is South Korea’s Sang-Moon Bai, who sunk to a +10 over par round.