By Brian Keogh
Padraig Harrington crashed out of the fog-delayed HSBC World Match Play Championship and groaned: "I've missed a golden opportunity."
Beaten 4&2 by Wentworth specialist Anders Hansen, the Open champion was kicking himself after learning that Order of Merit rival Justin Rose had also made a first round exit.
Rose putted terribly to lose 5&4 to American Hunter Mahan and remain more than €30,000 behind Harrington in the race for the Order of Merit.
And while Harrington was happy that he can now forget about adding next week's Portugal Masters to his schedule, he knows that first rounds winners Ernie Els can go €217,296 ahead of him if he wins the title for the seventh time on Sunday
Two over par for the 34 holes played, Harrington said: "I was never confident in my own game. There was no intensity.
"When I am confident and playing well I tend to become tentative. And I was defensive all day - I just didn't committ to my shots.
"We both started poorly but he got his rhythm going and I gave him a head start which gave him the confidence to go and play as well as he did."
Hansen was two up at lunch and then played the first 12 holes on the second 18 in two under to go five up and freewheeled home.
Reflecting on the Order of Merit battle, Harrington said: "Yes, Justin was beaten but I didn't look so much at what he was doing as much as looking at it a lost opportunity."
Defending champion Paul Casey beat Jerry Kelly 3&2 and will face US Open champion Angel Cabrera, who thrashed Retief Goosen 6&5, in today's quarter-finals.
Mahan will take on Soren Hansen, who beat Rory Sabbatini 4&3 while Els, who hammered Colin Montgomerie 6&5 will face the winner of Andres Romero and Niclas Fasth.
Romero was two up with four to play when bad light stopped play while Henrik Stenson was all square with a resurgent Woody Austin with one to play.
Meanwhile, Harrington has been made an Honorary Life Member of the European Tour, joining Fred Daly and Christy O’Connor as one of just three Irishmen to receive the honour.
Harrington said: "When I think back to my early days as a professional, I could never have imagined ending up as Open Champion and a Life Member of our Tour."