McDowell and McGinley start well

Graeme McDowell is bang on course to qualify for next week's CA-Championship after an opening 68 in the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea.

The Ulsterman needs a top-three finish to qualify for the second WGC event of the season through the top-10 on the Sunday's European Tour Order of Merit.

And that's exactly where he finished the opening day on Jeju Island, one shot behind leaders Tony Carolan and Finn Mikko Ilonen in a 10-man log-jam for third place with Paul McGinley.

Open champion Padraig Harrington struggled in the breezy conditions at times but birdied his last two holes for a 71 that left him tied for 40th alongside Damien McGrane and KJ Choi on one-under par.

Rory McIlroy and Gary Murphy struggled in the conditions to card four-over 76s, but McDowell is looking forward to taking advantage of the absence of the top-15 on the money list and continuing his rich vein of form.

After a closing birdie, McDowell said: "It was nice to finish on a good note.  I played the last seven holes 3-under par or something, so that was pleasant enough.  

"I feel like I'm playing really well at the minute and I'm doing a lot of good things.  It's great to come here and see a fantastic layout.

"I kind of like to target tournaments where we think there's going to be weak fields and good purses, and this is certainly one we looked at. 

"I had this targeted early, early in the schedule this one.  Big purse, I thought it was a natural three weeks, these three, India, Malaysia, Korea."

As for his chances of making it to Doral next week, McDowell added: "Doral will take care of itself.  I'm just trying to string together four rounds this week. 

"Of course there's the added benefits, I'm not sure what the numbers are but I think top two or three might give me a chance to get in next week which would be a nice bonus. 

"I'm going to Orlando anyway, so I don't have to worry about my flights.  I'm going to Orlando and if I go to Miami, it's all well and good."

Coming off two missed cuts, McGinley was happy with his 68 on a cool, breezy day at Pinx Golf Club.

McGinley said: "It was a good day's work and there was a lot of good golf whilst I birdied three of the four par fives which was good.
"It's a good start and that is something I haven't been managing for most of the year. I have just been getting away to slow starts.
"In my last few events I have just putted poorly but that aspect was much better today."

Harrington missed seven of 14 fairways in tough conditions and after bogeys at the sixth and seventh saw him slip to one over, he finished with birdies at the last two holes to trail the leaders by just four shots.

He said: "It was a tough enough day.  Happy enough with that.  You know, I could say could have been a shot better here or there, or maybe a shot or two worse, who knows.  But I think 71 is a reasonable reflection and a reasonable start.  

"It's a 72-hole event and 71 in the first round is always reasonably solid. I actually really like the way the golf course is set up.  The European Tour usually would have quite heavy rough but it's a windy golf course and you don't need heavy rough."