Pádraig Harrington and 14-year old son Paddy fired a fine five under par 67 on their debut in the PNC Father/Son Challenge in Orlando.
But they are eight strokes behind another pair of debutants in Argentinian two-time Major champion, Angel Cabrera and his son Angel Cabrera Jr, who fired a sensational bogey-free, 59 (-13) to lead by a shot from Mark and Shaun O’Meara at The Ritz Carlton Golf Club.
Team Cabrera birdied the first hole before adding further gains at the third, fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth to turn in six-under-par before closing with birdies to come home in 29 and break the magic 60 mark.
Cabrera said: "I’m very happy, indeed. It was a great round. Specifically, we combined very well. When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That’s the key. I’m very happy to play with him.”
Cabrera Jnr added: "I was very glad that my dad was able to make so many putts today, I was certainly nervous. I’m not used to playing with the cameras. I enjoyed it very much though.”
The O’Mearas are playing in their 10th consecutive edition of the tournament and happy to be in a field featuring no fewer than nine World Golf Hall of Famers.
Mark O’Meara said: "I love this event. It’s a special time when I get the call knowing that we’ll be able to play together again at the PNC Father/Son Challenge. Shaun lives here and he played well today, we got off to a good start. We’ll have to play even better.”
Team Cabrera and Team O’Meara will be in the last group tomorrow at 10:48.
Defending Champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, kept up their fine form at the event, bettering last year’s final round, by shooting a 61 (-11).
Hopeful of a repeat of 2016, Duval commented ‘I’d imagine we’ have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win but hey, stranger things have happened, I’ve even done it myself.’
Three-time PNC Father/Son Challenge winner, Bernhard Langer also fired a round of 61 (-11) with 17-year-old son Jason with their round including two eagles in the last five holes at Nos. 14 and 18.
In the chasing pack at ten under par after opening rounds of 62 (-10) is Team Kite, Team Pate, Team Cink and Team Daly.
Paired together in the first group of the day, Team Kite and Team Pate took advantage of the perfect conditions, setting the early clubhouse pace.
Team Kite, who return to the event for the first time since 2008, wasted no time getting acquainted with the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club layout, making birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 before lighting up their round with birdies at Nos. 10,11 and 12 before David holed out from 60 yards for eagle on the 13th.
"This has long been our favourite tournament,’ said former U.S Open Champion, Kite. ‘We’ve really enjoyed our comeback here after missing it for a couple of years."
Joining them at 10 under with a closing birdie on the 18th, Jerry and Wesley Pate were thrilled with their score but admitted that the tournament meant much more than just the golf to them.
"This is a family affair. My kids didn’t get a chance to see me play in the 70’s and 80’s. Some of them weren’t even born. It’s great for them to come out and see players like Nicklaus, Trevino, Faldo, Norman and so many wonderful players. It’s a thrill for the kids."
Former PNC Father/Son Challenge champion, Stewart Cink, who claimed the title in 2013 with his eldest son Connor, is paired with his youngest son, Reagan this week.
Feeling no pressure to fill his brothers’ shoes, Reagan confessed ‘we’ve settled on the golf course and I’m a better golfer so the results will follow. I’m not nervous, I don’t feel any pressure, it’s for fun out here. I am trying to be competitive and do as well as I can.’
Eighteen-time Major winner, Jack Nicklaus, who’s playing with his grandson for the first time, Gary ‘GT’ Nicklaus, is paired with Lee and Connor Janzen tomorrow at 9.12AM after a first round of 68 (-4).