By Brian Keogh
Padraig Harrington had a Torpedo go off in his hands as the greens got the better of him at Adare Manor.
The Dubliner, 35, three-putted three times with his new-fangled Torpedo putter as the poa annua greens saw him turn a solid start into a one over par 73.
The European No 1 finished the day five shots behind as Swedes Peter Hanson and Peter Gustafsson, England Simon Dyson and Argentina’s Andres Romero opened with four under par 68s.
But Harrington was left scratching his head after taking 33 putts on greens he did not even want to talk about.
He said: "It was a super test out there. That's the great thing. It is ideal conditions and three three putts is a lot. I probably wouldn't have that in 72 holes.
"There were a number of short putts that I was driving a little bit through the break. So I have got to work a little bit on the pace of the short putts."
Asked if the poa annua greens were a factor, the Dubliner had no answer.
But he confessed that he left a lot of shots on a course that was reduced by 240 yards by the tournament director due to fears that the weather would wreak havoc with the scores.
It didn't turn out that way as Harrington played in balmy sunshine and a stiff but reasonable breeze.
But he had to work hard to save par at the last two holes after riving into the woods at the 17th and then hitting his second into the hospitality area at the 18th
After a birdie at the third and a bogey at the fourth, he picked up a shot at the ninth to turn in one under par with the bit between his teeth
But a double bogey six at the 10th, where he fluffed a a pitch and run from an "ugly" lie and then three-putted, totally killed his momentum.
He groaned: "The double bogey did stall my round. Three three-puts after 10 holes and I lost momentum.
"A couple under you’re flying along and everything is good and confident. After that I didn’t really see the way to the hole from 15 feet.
"I hit a few short putts through the break and that’s just being a little anxious probably.
"It was just trying to hit them into the hole, rather that trying to roll them into the hole."
Harrington missed great birdie chances at the 14th and 15th but reckons he will have his share of luck over the next three days.
He said: "It was a good chance lost. The first 15 holes, another day I would have been well under par for the day, no question about it.
"But if I play the same way for the next three days I will go well under par. There’s nothing lost today. I could have been better but over 72 holes, I’d be very happy if I played as well as I did today."
Just 16 players broke par on the longest course in Irish Open history as a chilly morning turned into balmy afternoon sunshine for a crowd of just under 10,000 fans.
Hanson and Dyson drove the ball brilliantly for flawless 68s while Gustafsson had two bogeys and Romero four bogeys and an amazing eight birdies.
Hanson said: "This is almost like a major championship set-up, like a US Open course, and that's the sort of mental approach you have to take.
"But it fits my game really, really well. My strength is my long game.It was all about staying away from the rough and avoiding double-bogeys."
Bachelor Dyson, 29, admitted that his decision to ditch his bad boy image swear off the booze like pals Kenny Ferrie and Nick Dougherty has worked wonders.
Dyson said: "You're a 24, 25-year-old lad earning money that you never dreamt of, and you're seeing the world. My dad was always on at me because he knew I wasn't putting all of my time into being the best player that I could be.
"Then Nick and Ken just changed their attitude. Nick was the one I used to go out with and all of a sudden he's going to the gym and earning a million quid a year and I thought 'I want a bit of that.'
"I'd had a nice four years and earned a few quid, I could probably earn a fortune and enjoy it even more, so I thought 'why not?’"
Irish Open leaderboard
68 P Hanson (Sweden), S Dyson (England), A Romero (Argentina), P Gustafsson (Sweden).
69 J Kingston (South Africa), L Oosthuizen (South Africa), C Nilsson (Sweden).
70 S Wakefield (England), A Rocha (Brazil).
71 L Westwood (England), R Sterne (South Africa), M Zions (Australia), R Green (Australia), S Khan (England), F Molinari (Italy), J Backstrom (Sweden).
72 J Sandelin (Sweden), P McGINLEY (Ireland), D Lynn (England), D Park (Wales), P Price (Wales), M Jonzon (Sweden), A Forsyth (Scotland), T Teshima (Japan), Y E Yang (Korea), S Lyle (Scotland), A Canete (Argentina).
73 R Bland (England), O Wilson (England), M Pilkington (Wales), J F Lima (Portugal), M Foster (England), S O'Hara (Scotland), J DWYER (Ireland), R Finch (England), P HARRINGTON (Ireland), R Fisher (England), S Struver (Germany), S Jeppersen (Sweden), C Rodiles (Spain), S Hansen (Denmark).
74 M Kaymer (Germany), M Fraser (Australia), A Noren (Sweden), J Edfors (Sweden), L Slattery (England), K Ferrie (England), G Havret (France), G MURPHY (Ireland), M Mamat (Singapore), M Eliasson (Sweden), S Kjeldsen (Denmark), G McDOWELL (Ireland), T Levet (France), JM Singh (India), R Jacquelin (France), MA Jimenez (Spain), A Haig (South Africa), D Drysdale (Scotland), J Heath (England), C Hanell (Sweden), A Oldcorn (Scotland), M Vibe Hastrup (Denmark), J Perron (Spain).
75 N Dougherty (England), M Lafeber (Holland), M Brier (Austria), T Bjorn (Denmark), S Dodd (Wales), B Lane (England), R J Derksen (Holland), J Bickerton (England), K Sullivan (Wales), T Whitehouse (England), E Canonica (Italy), B Dredge (Wales), D McGRANE (Ireland), C Cevaer (France), P Hedblom (Sweden), B Barham (England), D HIGGINS (Ireland), R Echenique (Argentina), D Griffiths (England).
76 PETER LAWRIE (Ireland), J Randhawa (India), M Erlandsson (Sweden), G Lockerbie (England), N FOX (Ireland), C Gane (England), O Fisher (England), A Marshall (England), M Warren (Scotland), S Gallacher (Scotland), G Orr (Scotland), J Van De Velde (France), P MURRAY (Ireland, amateur).
77 P O'Malley (Australia), J Hepworth (England), A Wall (England), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), A Coltart (Scotland), M Campbell (New Zealand), L James (England), H Nystrom (Sweden), J F Remesy (France), J F Lucquin (France), S THORNTON (Ireland), I Garrido (Spain), A Raitt (England), S Kapur (India), E Rush (England).
78 A Tampion (Australia), S Webster (England), D Carter (England), P Edberg (Sweden), J Guerrier (France), G Houston (Wales), M Higley (England), R Giles (England), R Rock (England), C Monasterio (Argentina), J Axgren (Sweden), F Andersson Hed (Sweden), I Woosnam (Wales), P WALTON (Ireland), G Storm (England), W Ormsby (Australia), P MARTIN (Ireland).
79 M Siem (Germany), D Vancsik (Argentina), P Archer (England), P Broadhurst (England), D Fichardt (South Africa), A Tadini (Italy), M Millar (Australia), M Richardson (England), G Bourdy (France), S Little (England), S Luna (Spain), R Cabrera Bello (Spain).
80 S Walker (England), M HOEY (Ireland), L WALKER (Ireland), M Ilonen (Finland), B Rumford (Australia).
81 S Drummond (Scotland), N Begay (USA), G Emerson (England).
82 I Garbutt (England), G Davies (England).
83 P Sjoland (Sweden), T Price (Australia).
86 R Gonzalez (Argentina).
87 D MORTIMER (Ireland).
92 D MOONEY (Ireland).