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Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 23 September 2010 17:44 UK

Padraig Harrington makes steady start at Vivendi Cup

Vivendi Cup first round leaderboard (par=72):
-11 J Edfors (Swe) -9 D Dixon (Eng) -8 JF Remesy (Fr), J Parry (Eng) -7 C Gane (Eng), T Hamilton (US), S Kjeldsen (Den), J Guerrier (Fr), K Ferrie (Eng), P Edberg (Swe), J Sandelin (Swe)
Selected others: -4 P Harrington (Ire), P McGinley (Ire) -2 T Bjorn (Den)

Padraig Harrington in Paris
Harrington made an encouraging start to his round at the Marly course

Ryder Cup wildcard Padraig Harrington warmed up for next week's event with a four under 68 to trail by seven after round one of the Vivendi Cup in Paris.

The 39-year-old, seeking a lift in form with no win since 2008, birdied three of his first six holes at the Marly course and had seven birdies in total.

The other member of the European team due to play in the event, Peter Hanson, withdrew because of a chest infection.

Johan Edfors leads by two shots after 10 birdies and an eagle in a superb 61.

That equalled the lowest round of the European Tour season, and its first 59 was a possibility when Edfors had five birdies in an outward 31, then started for home with three more birdies and an eagle.

However he bogeyed the 14th, but two birdies gave the 34-year-old former Scottish Open and British Masters champion his best round in Europe.

The tournament is played over both the Marly course, which measures 6,729 yards and the Retz layout, which is 82 yards longer.

The first two rounds are played in a pro-am format before a halfway cut on Friday.

Harrington, who paired up with his brother Fergal, had not originally intended to play in this event, but failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs in America earlier this month and immediately decided to add an extra tournament before the Ryder Cup.


He is endeavouring to improve on a poor recent Ryder Cup record, which has seen him fail to record a victory in either the 2006 victory at the K Club or the 2008 defeat at Valhalla.

Having missed a two-foot putt at the 14th for his third bogey of the day, he finished in style with a smooth 20-foot birdie putt at the last, but the scoring was such that Harrington did not make the top 20.

The Irishman was encouraged with his performance, however, and said: "If I had putted well it would have been a tremendous score - you have to hole putts to shoot a low number.

"I could see the two weeks of practice I've just done and I got stalled over the ball a bit, but another three rounds will do me no end of good."

Hanson will make his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor starting on 1 October, and had also intended to fine tune his game in Paris.

But he was unwell earlier in the week and said on Wednesday that European captain Colin Montgomerie advised him not to take any chances.

"I was feeling okay up until yesterday," he said. "I got a bit of a chest infection, a bit of a cold. I have a little bit of fever.

"I'm a little bit worse today (Wednesday), so not ideal the way I want to prepare this week. But like Colin said, we don't want to be sick next week, so I'll try to treat that and see the doctor.

"There's a lot of colds and stuff going around. Hopefully I will be ready Monday. If I feel as bad it's no point being out here and wasting all of that energy instead of trying to feel better and fresher come next week."

Meanwhile, two of Montgomerie's vice-captains in Wales next week started well, Irishman Paul McGinley had four successive birdies and no dropped shots in a 68 and Dane Thomas Bjorn birdied two holes on each nine in an opening round 70.

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see also
Harrington misses cut in Boston
05 Sep 10 |  Golf
Molinari earns European wildcard
29 Aug 10 |  Golf
US Ryder Cup team profiles
07 Sep 10 |  Golf
Woods named in US Ryder Cup team
07 Sep 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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