More pain for Darren

By Brian Keogh

Darren Clarke's nightmare run continued when he opened with a two over par 72 in the $6 million Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

And it was just as frustrating for Dubliner Padraig Harrington who salvaged a one over par 71 with two birdies in his last four holes at TPC River Highlands

Down to 110th in the world, Clarke badly needs to make the cut after missing out in the weekend action six times on the trot.

But he faces an uphill battle to make it as he finished the day eight shots adrift of early leader Chris DiMarco.

With stand-in caddie Cayce Kerr on the bag, Clarke holed six feet for par on the first and 15 feet for birdie at the second to go one under par.

But it was all downhill after that as he bunkered his approach at the fourth and missed from 15 feet for par.

The Ulsterman, 38, has had a torrid time on the greens lately and it proved no different in the US as he holed just one putt outside six feet.

Three putts at the seventh, where he ran his 35 foot birdie effort eight feet past the hole, put him one over par.

And while he bounced back at the 202-yard eighth, firing his tee shot to just six feet, he leaked shots coming home.

A missed three and a half footer at the 14th and a bunkered approach at the last off a pushed tee shot left him in the bottom half of the field on two over.

And it was a similar story for Harrington, who failed to shake off his US Open hangover with a lacklustre performance.

Starting on the back nine, Harrington bogeyed the 12th and 14th after poor irons shots.

Then he pulled his tee shot into a lake at the driveable, 296-yard 15th and bogeyed again to slump to three over par after six.

Birdie chances slipped by the hole at the first four holes on his back nine before he salvaged something from his day with two late birdies.

At the par-five sixth he chipped to four feet from just short of the green and then matched Clarke's birdie at the par-three eighth by ramming home a 35 footer across the green.

Like Clarke he missed just one fairway but eight missed greens left him looking on in envy as playing partner DiMarco racked up seven birdies to grab the early lead with a super 64.