McGinley off the pace

By Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley failed to find inspiration in Padraig Harrington's Open win as he crashed seven shots off the pace at the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship.

The Dubliner was two under with five to play but bogeyed the 15th and 18th for a level par 72 as England's Simon Khan grabbed the lead with a sensational 65.

Instead it was Khan who was inspired by Harrington as he copied the Carnoustie hero's putting grip to hit an eagle, six birdies and just one bogey in Hamburg.

Four under after just three holes thanks to an eagle at the third, Khan bogeyed the fourth but recovered with four more birdies thanks to working hard on his putting last week instead of watching the Open.

Khan said: "I was very disappointed to miss out on the Open, I played in the last two and it's the ultimate for me, so I didn't watch much and worked on my putting instead.

"I went back to my old technique with the index finger down the shaft of the putter like Padraig Harrington and it seems to work."

England's Lee Slattery and Oliver Wilson are just one shot off the pace, with Slattery hoping to take top prize after his Southport home suffered €44,000 worth of flood damage recently.

Slattery said: "It flooded a few weeks back so I've had a lot on my plate but luckily I moved in with my brother and he's dealing with everything."

Meath's Damien McGrane leads the Irish challenge thanks to a three-under par 69 with Gary Murphy a shot further back thanks to birdies at the 17th and 18th.

Peter Lawrie joined McGinley on level par after a 72 that promised to be so much better after an eagle three at the third and a birdie at the ninth.

But he dropped two shots coming home to finish the day tied for 82nd place alongside his fellow Dubliner.

Graeme McDowell struggled to a one-over par 73 despite having two twos on his card.

The Ulsterman, who turns 28 on Sunday, birdied the short 14th and 16th but bogeyed the first, ninth and 15th in a poor putting display.