Positive start for Harrington in New Orleans

Pádraig Harrington opened with a two under 70 to finish the day eight strokes behind leader Ben Martin in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

The Dubliner, who has fallen to 182nd in the world and missed six of nine cuts from 10 starts (there was no cut as he finished tied fifth on his seasonal debut in the Volvo Golf Champions) had four birdies and two bogeys at TPC Louisiana.

Concerned before the start about his putting and scrambling, he had 32 putts but still did well to give himself birdie chances despite hitting just six fairways.

Following a short fog delay, the 42-year old hit a 100 yard wedge to 11 feet at the par-five second to dip into red figures but dropped his first shot of the day at the sixth, where he three putted for bogey after leaving a 50 footer some eight feet short.

He had a chance from 10 feet at the eighth but missed that before chipping and putting to save par from right of the par three ninth to turn in level par.

Harrington started the back nine well, hitting a 122-yard approach to three feet at the 10th before rolling in the putt to get to one-under par again.

Amazingly, he found a found sand off the tee for the third time at a par-five at the 575-yard 11th, where he hit a 90-yard third to 10 feet but missed the putt. 

A glorious tee shot to four feet at the 216-yard 14th got him to two under and while he bogeyed the 15th by missing a five footer after a drive into the right rough saw him miss the green, he hit back with another birdie from five feet at the 355-yard 16th.

Having missed the fairway on all the previous par-fives and made just one birdie, Harrington again missed the fairway at the 585-yard 18th and two putted for a two under 70 that will give him something positive to build on following what has been a miserable start to the season.

Martin shot a 10 under par 62 to lead by two shots from Andrew Svoboda.