Padraig Harrington, pictured in practiced in Texas this week. Photo: kenneth e.dennis / www.golffile.iePadraig Harrington was forced to finish with a brace of unlikely birdies just to keep alive his hopes of making the cut in the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Texas.

With Keegan Bradely setting the early pace with a sensational, 10 under 60 in the morning, the Dubliner had to birdie the 17th from 16 feet and chip in from 33 feet a the 18th just to shoot a level par 70.

He began brightly with a birdie from six feet at the first but then had to work hard to keep a bogey off his card at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.

Looking more comfortable with his belly putter, he made some trademark, scrambling pars but failed to take his chances until he rammed in a 25 footer for a two at the 13th.

That left him in good shape at two under before he was forced to undo the damage of a bogey-triple bogey run with two late birdies.

Already suffering off the tee with his misses going to both the right and the left, his waywardness caught up with him at the 14th when he was forced to chip out of the right hand trees and couldn’t get up and down from for his par from 101 yards.

He then went well left on the index one 15th and blasted his second shot left and out of bounds, eventually racking up a triple bogey seven to slip well outside the cut mark on two over.

When he three-putted the par-five 16th from 70 feet and walked off with just a five after missing another six footer, he looked certain to finish his day over par.

But his never-say-die attitude paid off and he knocked in a 16 footer for a two at the 198 yard 17th and then chipped in from 33 feet at the 18th to post a 70 that leaves him tied for 77th

With little wind to trouble the players, scoring was sensational with 2011 champion Bradley heading the 76 players to post rounds in the 60s.

According to the PGA Tour:

“…Bradley had no thoughts of a course record, or the possibility of a 59, after consecutive bogeys in the middle of his opening round at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Until his 136-yard wedge shot on his final hole Thursday.

“It was going right at it. (A 59) crossed my mind for a second, and it would be unbelievable if I buried this,” Bradley said. “But I had 3 feet to shoot 60. I was actually very nervous, uncomfortable over it and thank God I made it.”

“Bradley shot a 10-under 60, completed by that short birdie at the 428-yard ninth hole, to break the TPC Four Seasons course record and match the best round ever at the Nelson.

“He topped his career PGA TOUR best by three strokes and equaled Phil Mickelson’s opening 60 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open as the best round on the TOUR this season.”