Padraig Harrington has taken advantage of his wild card entry into the PGA Grand Slam of Golf shooting a five-under par 66 to put himself on top of the leaderboard after the opening round.
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf normally features the year’s four Grand Slam champions but an ankle injury forced the withdrawal of British Open champion Ernie Els and he was replaced by three-time major champion Harrington.
Three birdies in the final five holes allowed Harrington to take a two stroke lead into the clubhouse over Bubba Watson who took an early lead but bogeyed three holes in the back nine to finish on 68.
Webb Simpson was third on 69 with Keegan Bradley, another wildcard entrant, fourth on 72.
Harrington was happy to hold the overnight lead but wasn’t overly impressed with the way he played.
”I had a 15-footer at the third and kind of lost my focus a bit on the line and drove it through the line and then hit a bad putt coming back, a terrible bogey,” Harrington said.
“It wasn’t feeling great. You need to be making the birdies at that stage.”
The popular Irishman is making his third appearance in the PGA Grand Slam and is hoping to break through for his maiden victory in the $600,000 event.
“I’ve come close twice in Grand Slams and hopefully it will be that close coming down the stretch this week and it would fall in my favour,” he said.
Harrington said he wouldn’t be overly disappointed if he can’t convert his lead into a victory as he is simply happy to be given the chance to play in the tournament.
“Anytime you can come to this event, it’s fun,” Harrington said.
“The weather was perfect, the fans were great. It was good.”