Nightmare Masters start for Harrington

Padraig Harrington left himself with a mountain to climb as Darren Clarke crashed to his worst ever score in the Masters.

The Dubliner was just two over par with four to play but ran up a horror triple bogey EIGHT at the par five 15th en route to an sloppy 77 .

That left the European No 1 a massive eight shots behind leaders Justin Rose and Brett Wetterich at punishing Augusta National.

But it was even worse for struggling Clarke as he crashed to a nightmare 83 that left him near the back of the field alongside veteran Gary Player on 11 over par.

The Ulsterman, 38, dropped eight shots in the first ten holes and while he birdied the 13th, he double bogeyed at the par three 16th after dumping his tee shot in the water and dropped another shot at the 17th.

Clarke came into the event with low expectations but Harrington will be bitterly disappointed to have let a solid if unspectacular round slip away with four dropped shots in the last five holes..

The world No 10 got off to a positive start with a solid par at the tough first and a single putt birdie at the par-five second.

And while he hit trouble in the middle of his front nine, dropping three shots in a row from the fourth, he dug deep to play the next seven in one under.

A bogey at the 10th saw him slip to tied 25th at that stage but a fine par at the terrifying 11th and a birdie at the par five 13th left him close to the top of the leaderboard at one over par.

But while Rose had just 20 putts in his sensational 69, Harrington had little luck with the short stick.

A bogey at the 14th halted his progress but there was worse to come at the 530 yard 15th where he hit his third shot heavy and watched the ball trickle back into the pond fronting the green.

His fifth shot from the drop zone sailed over the green and he took three more to get down from there to slither from tied 22nd to 60th place.

He looked likely to drop another shot at the last but brilliantly saved par from greenside sand with a sensational bunker shot to five feet.