Padraig Harrington faces an uphill battle to make the cut after three dropped shots in his last six holes left him nine strokes adrift of playing partner Paul Casey at the Transitions Championship in Tampa.

The Dubliner, who needed treatment for an arm injury following the pro-am, carded a two over 73 to finish the day tied for 107th place and two shots outside the provisional cut line.

Harrington began with nine straight pars on the back nine but his scorecard did not tell the true story of his round.

Some wayward tee shots and mediocre irons gave him little chance of picking up shots early on and had it not been for some good scrambling, he might have signed for a three or four over par round.

After a birdie four at the first, his 10th, and par saves from three and a half feet at the second and nine feet at the third, the 39-year old bogeyed the 194-yard fourth after a pulled tee shot.

He did well just to drop one shot at the par-four sixth, holing a six footer for a five having being forced to chip back to the fairway from the trees on the right after a poor drive.

But his day ended in disappointing fashion with a bogey at the ninth, where he was in a fairway bunker off the tee and took three more to reach the green before holing a 10 footer for a five.

His round was made to look even more ordinary by playing partner Casey, who carded a seven under par 64 to lead by two strokes from American trio Nick Watney, Garrett Willis and Scott Stallings and Scotland’s Martin Laird.

“I got lucky, got a few good bounces and rode it well and made some putts,” said Casey. “I’m very happy with that.

“The nice thing today was we had some favourable wind. It was great golfing weather. I didn’t even see the fog this morning.”

Watney, who headed into this tournament on the back of the biggest win of his career at the World Golf Championship event in Miami last weekend, also had seven birdies but dropped two shots over his final six holes.

Defending champion Jim Furyk was among a group of 10 players a further shot back.

He was joined by John Senden, who would have been even higher up the leaderboard had he not had to call a one-shot penalty on himself on the second hole.

The Australian saw the ball move at the top of his swing with a three wood from the rough but was committed to the shot and could not help hitting it.

“I was unlucky at the beginning of the day,” Senden said. “I started off well, birdied the first hole, and my second shot on the par-five fifth, I was basically right in my back swing and the ball just moved probably a quarter of an inch roll slowly back. Still hit the shot.

“So went to the PGA Tour official and asked the question, what’s the rule? And he said, hit your shot and add one. So I was unlucky on that shot. But turned it around nicely on seven and nine, and then it played well around the back nine.”

Spain’s Sergio Garcia signed for a bogey-free 68 on his first PGA Tour round in seven months. World number one Martin Kaymer, of Germany, and 17-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero were alongside Garcia among a group of 15 players tied for 16th.

Play was suspended due to darkness with three players - Russell Knox, Joseph Bramlett and Bobby Gates - still on the course. The trio will return early on Friday to complete their first rounds.

Latest first round scores in the USPGA Tour Transitions Championship, Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort, Tampa Bay, Florida, United States of America

(USA unless stated, par 71):

Play suspended due to darkness and will resume at 0815 local time.
64 Paul Casey (Eng)

66 Nick Watney, Scott Stallings, Martin Laird (Sco), Garrett Willis

67 Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Brian Gay, John Senden (Aus), Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson, Joe Durant, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk, Stuart Appleby (Aus), Ryan Moore

68 Charley Hoffman, Jason Dufner, Sergio Garcia (Spa), Tag Ridings, Matteo Manassero (Ita), Stewart Cink, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Kevin Sutherland, Blake Adams, Vijay Singh (Fij), Chad Collins, Roland Thatcher, Marc Leishman (Aus), Brandt Jobe, Marc Turnesa

69 Chris Riley, Robert Garrigus, J.P. Hayes, David Toms, Chris Couch, Jamie Lovemark, Matthew Jones (Aus), Peter Hanson (Swe), Chad Campbell, Jerry Kelly, Brendon De Jonge, Will Claxton, Kevin Na, J J Henry, Arjun Atwal (Ind), K J Choi (Kor), Andres Romero (Arg), Carl Pettersson (Swe)

70 Spencer Levin, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Chez Reavie, John Daly, Peter Uihlein, Justin Rose (Eng), Shaun Micheel, Stephen Ames (Can), Brian Davis (Eng), Kent Jones, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jason Day (Aus), Mark Wilson, Charlie Wi (Kor), John Rollins, Jonathan Byrd, Troy Matteson

71 Jason Kokrak, Bill Lunde, Zack Miller, Woody Austin, Nick O’Hern (Aus), Charles Howell III, Alex Prugh, Dean Wilson, Jimmy Walker, Steve Flesch, Chris DiMarco, William McGirt, Fabian Gomez (Arg), Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Ricky Barnes, George McNeill, Bio Kim (Kor), Cameron Beckman, Rocco Mediate, Tommy Gainey

72 Ryan Palmer, Steven Bowditch (Aus), Nathan Green (Aus), Bill Haas, Chris Stroud, Kyle Stanley, Tim Herron, Retief Goosen (Rsa), Michael Connell, Brendan Steele, Jarrod Lyle (Aus), Kevin Stadler, Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Paul Goydos, Johnson Wagner, Brandt Snedeker, Cameron Tringale, D.J. Trahan

73 Vaughn Taylor, David Duval, Matt Bettencourt, Sean O’Hair, Hunter Haas, Billy Horschel, Jesper Parnevik (Swe), Kris Blanks, Lucas Glover, Alex Cejka (Ger), Keegan Bradley, Jeff Maggert, Mark Calcavecchia, Rich Beem, Josh Teater, Padraig Harrington (Irl)

74 Pat Perez, Billy Mayfair, Greg Chalmers (Aus), Derek Lamely, Kenny Perry, Chris Tidland, Tim Petrovic, John Huston, Ryuji Imada (Jpn), Bryce Molder

75 Chris Kirk, Michael Bradley, Travis Hampshire, Ben Curtis, Harrison Frazar, Heath Slocum

76 James Driscoll

77 Troy Merritt, Daniel Summerhays

80 Jeff Freeman

WD: 79 Richard S Johnson (Swe)