Padraig Harrington made a great start in his bid to end his season with a win when he fired with a six under par 66 to grab the first round lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.

The 39-year-old Dubliner is a stroke clear of Ryder Cup parnter Ross Fisher after a round that featured seven birdies and a solitary bogey at the 17th.

World No 1 Lee Westwood, who could lose his place at the top of the rankings this week if Tiger Woods claims the Chevron World Challenge in Los Angeles, sits alone in third place thanks to a four under 68.

Chasing his second win of the year, a handful of world ranking points and a winner’s cheque for $1.25m, Harrington parred his first seven holes at the Gary Player Country Club before going on the attack.

He birdied the eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th and 14th to share the lead with Fisher before play was suspended due to a thunderstorm.

When play resumed, he birdied the par-four 15th to get to six under and while he dropped a shot at the 437-yard 17th, he brilliantly birdied the last from four feet to take the outright lead.

According to the a report on the official tournament website, Harrington did not stop to speak to reporters and headed straight for the driving range after his round:

Harrington, who has dropped to 22 in the world rankings, is obviously still struggling with aspects of his game as he made a hasty exit after his round to work out on the practice range, snubbing the media in the process.

66 Padraig Harrington (Irl)

67 Ross Fisher (Eng)

68 Lee Westwood (Eng)

69 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa)

70 Robert Allenby (Aus), Justin Rose (Eng)

71 Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Edoardo Molinari (Ita)

72 Anders Hansen (Den), Retief Goosen

73 Tim Clark