Padraig Harrington found a way to take some of the attention away from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on Thursday. He made six birdies on...
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Padraig Harrington found a way to take some of the attention away from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on Thursday. He made six birdies on the tough back nine of Bethpage Black and opened the FedEx Cup playoffs with a 7-under-par 64 for a one-shot lead at The Barclays.
And that surely got the attention of Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
Harrington has to rely on a captain’s pick to make his seventh straight European team, and that looks to be unlikely. Not only has the three-time major champion gone four years without winning against a strong field, he and Olazabal are not the best of friends after a dispute at the Seve Trophy from nine years ago.
The Irishman had the toughest time after he got off the difficult Black course. There were so many questions about the Ryder Cup, his chances of making the team and what he has to do to impress Olazabal, that at one point Harrington adopted the American way.
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“The only answer I can give at this stage is I’m pleading the Fifth Amendment on that one,” Harrington said. “I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t want to go in there and try too desperately to beg for a pick, or I don’t want to go in there and give excuses for anything. I’ll just leave it be what it is. I’m just going to play golf.”
Harrington came to life on the back nine with four straight birdies to cap off his 64, giving him a one-shot lead over Nick Watney and Brian Harman.
Sergio Garcia was part of the group at 66, while defending champion Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, both trying to make their own impression as potential picks by U.S. captain Davis Love III, were in the group at 67.
There were 73 players from the 123-man field at par or better.
Thousands of fans chased after Woods and McIlroy, in the marquee group based on their standing in the FedEx Cup — Woods at No. 1, McIlroy at No. 3. Both of them got off to a reasonable start. Woods scrambled nicely to recover from a few errant shots and scratched out a 68. McIlroy smashed one driver after another to set up short irons into the greens, and while he had three birdies through six holes, he let the good start get away from him and settled for a 69.
Ryan Moore of Puyallup shot a 69. Kyle Stanley from Gig Harbor had a 71. Former Husky Troy Kelly shot a 74.
• Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Canadian Women’s Open in Coquitlam, B.C. Na Yeon Choi, the U.S. Women’s Open champ, was second.
Former Husky Paige Mackenzie shot a 70. Wendy Ward, who lives near Edwall, outside Spokane, had a 74. Erynne Lee from Silverdale shot a 75. Jimin Kang, a graduate of King’s High School in Shoreline, also had a 75.
• Nicolas Colsaerts shot a 3-under 69 in the Johnnie Walker Championship in Gleneagles, Scotland, leaving the Ryder Cup hopeful two shots behind the first-round leaders in the final event in the points races for the 10 automatic spots on the European team.