Explosive start sees Harrington move into contention at Portugal Masters

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON IS just two shots off the early leaders at the Portugal Masters after carding an excellent, first-round 66 today.
The Dubliner began in explosive fashion, starting at the ninth, carding four birdies and an eagle in his first eight holes.
A bogey on 18 saw him make the turn in five-under 31 before a solid front nine, featuring one birdie, one bogey and seven pars, helped him post a competitive first-round total which is currently good enough for tied 9th.
Harrington has struggled for form in 2016, recording just one top-10 finish — and that sixth-place result in January came in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, an event with just 31 in the field.
A 13th place in the US PGA Championship and his result of 21st at the Rio Olympics have been Harrington’s standout results of the year but he will hoping to change that in Vilamoura this weekend.
There are four early clubhouse leaders on seven-under — David Lipsky of the US, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen and the English pair of Matthew Baldwin and Callum Shinkwin.
Paul Dunne and Michael Hoey, both late starters, are also in action at the Victoria Clube de Golfe and the Greystones man has made an inauspicious start, carding a bogey and a double bogey in his first five holes.
Hoey, for his part, is level-par after just two holes.
The PGA Tour is in Malaysia this week for the CIMB Classic but no Irish golfers are in action.
The US trio of Derek Fauthauer, Keegan Bradley and Justin Thomas lead the way on eight-under with England’s Paul Casey just one shot in arrears.