Harrington up for Hamburg challenge; Brennan poised at Q-School
Paul Casey. Picture: Getty Images

Paul Casey. Picture: Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington used his famous fear factor to motivate himself and keep leader Paul Casey in his sights at the Porsche European Open in Hamburg.

Europe's Ryder Cup skipper (48) has missed five of six cuts since the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and nine of 14 this year after suffering a fractured wrist last December.

But while he admitted he was "daunted" by the prospect of taking on 7,544 yard Green Eagle Golf Course, he overcame wind and rain to get himself up for battle and card a one-under 71 to share 13th place.

"It's an absolute beast of a course," said Harrington, who was just five shots behind leader Casey after posting one of just 22 sub-par rounds.

"They've moved tees up, the greens are soft and the pin positions are reasonable, but it just intimidates the hell out of you.

"I didn't know what was going to happen today. The unpredictability of it was different. I was bouncing going to the first tee."

The veteran was the best of the Irish on a tough day that saw Ireland's leading Challenge Tour star Cormac Sharvin shoot 73 and share 37th as leaving Michael Hoey and Gavin Moynihan battled to 74s and joint 47th.

Casey, who said earlier in the week he was pleased to see Rory McIlroy declare for Ireland in next year's Olympics as it improves his chances of playing in Japan, fired a brilliant 66 to lead by one stroke from Austria's Matthias Schwab.

But it was a tougher day for the Americans in testing conditions as world number nine Xander Schauffele shot 73 and Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar a pair of 74s.

Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup skipper Craig Watson is hoping for similar conditions at Hoylake this weekend to keep the Americans in check.

And Mallow's James Sugrue reckons his Cork supporters could prove another plus for the home side.

"Fifty people are coming over from Ireland his week," the Amateur champion said. "It should be a fairly noisy weekend here. Everyone at my club, they're very good giving me support, helping me throughout junior golf and everything."

At the First Stage of the European Tour Q-School, Shannon's Danny Brennan shot 69 to share third on seven under in his bid to make the top 17 and ties who progress today.

Tyler Hogarty's one-under 68 left him joint seventh with Tim Rice just a shot outside the qualifying places on two-under after a 68.

In France, Stephen Grant and Paul McBride chiselled out two-over 72 to lie six shots behind leader Robert Dinwiddie at the Challenge Tour's Open de Bretagne.

Robin Dawson shot 74 and Gary Hurley a 78.