Shattered Paul McGinley reflected on a disastrous opening day in the World Cup and confessed: “I let Padraig down badly.”

The fiery Dubliner took all the blame for an opening five under par 67 in the fourball betterball that left Ireland a massive EIGHT shots behind holders England.

The result left Ireland tied for 18th in the 24-nation event and virtually scuttled their chances of winning the title.

Harrington made all seven of Ireland’s birdies and McGinley had no choice but to take it on the chin.

After dumping his eight iron approach in the lake at the 18th to condemn Ireland to a finishing bogey, he needed several minutes to compose himself afterwards.

Then he said: “I am raging inside. It was a very disappointing performance. Padraig played fine but I let him down badly.

“At lot of my yardages came up short and I don’t know why. Maybe it was fatigue, I don’t know.

“On the 18th I was in between clubs and I tried to hit a hard eight and hit it heavy.

“So I am going to have an early dinner and a lot of rest and come out firing tomorrow.

“We’ve got a long road to make up now but if the weather turns bad, that might help us.”

Harrington also found water with his approach at the par five 17th. But Ireland’s problems can all be traced to some lacklustre putting by both players.

Harrington said: “It just comes down to the fact that we never holed a putt out there. When you have two guys going at it, no matter what you say, you have got to hole putts to make birdies and we didn’t do that.

“It was a pity because we did start well. But you just move on. There are 54 holes to go and the forecast isn’t good.

“When you are behind it would suit us if the conditions were a bit nasty. It’s a lot to make up without a doubt. But there you go.

“You need a few breaks and hole the odd putt and we didn’t do anything like that.  You would be better off playing badly and holing the putts than doing what we did.

The Dubliners made seven birdies and two bogeys in their round as partners Venezuela outscored them by a shot - 66 to 67.

But they only holed one putt outside six feet all day and finished up alongside Mexico, South Korea and Singapore at the foot of the leaderboard.

The day started brightly when Harrington fired approaches to four feet and six inches at the first two holes to set up simple birdies.

Another birdie at the par five third, where Harrington had a 20 footer for eagle, gave them the perfect start.

But it soon started to go wrong as soon as Harrington lipped out for birdie at the fourth.

The world no 14 started firing blanks with his irons and was in bunkers at the fifth, sixth and seventh.

He said: “Maybe if the 20 footer for the eagle had gone in it might have been different. We had a few iffy holes then and dropping a shot on nine is never good in fourballs.

But we came back well with four birdies. Maybe if we had finished with a few more birdies we would have saved somewhat of the day but that wasn’t to be. It’s to be windy and wet in the weekend and that has got to help us.”

A quick look at the leaderboard showed that England were seven under par after just seven holes as Ireland played the par four ninth.

But that ended in disaster when both men took bogey five. McGinley hit a tree with his approach and had to take evasive action as the ball ricocheted 50 yards back down the fairway.

Then Harrington compounded the error by missing the green right and short-siding himself.

A bogey there killed their momentum but Harrington fought back with birdies at the 10th, 11th and par five 12th to rescue the situation.

Another Harrington birdie at the 14th, where McGInley did not have to putt from just four feet, gave them hope of a strong finish and salvaging something from a disappointing day.

The par five 17th offered a great chance but McGinley missed the fairway and Harrington found a storm drain in the middle of the fairway and ended up dropping the ball in a small hole just inches from the grating and could get no further relief

With McGinley laying up short of a greenside lake in two, Harrington went for the 232 yard carry with a five wood but watched in horror as the ball splashed down five feet short of dry land.

Harrington said: “I dropped it off the drain and it went back into it. But it wasn’t on the metal this time and I was inside in a hole. I might as well have been in a divot.

“I hit a five wood as good as I good hit it. It might as well have been coming out of rough, it came out that soft. It came out, going nowhere.”

They escaped with a par five but there was worse to come at the tough 18th in the shape of their second bogey.

Harrington could not find the green in regulation from the rough but McGinley then put him under pressure to save par when his eight iron approach came up well short in the water.

The pair are praying for bad weather, but they might need and act of God to get back in the title race this time.