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Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 13:32 UK

Harrington makes creditable start

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Harrington managed two birdies on a testing day at Royal Birkdale

Defending champion Padraig Harrington defied the atrocious weather as well as a wrist injury to finish the first round of the Open on four over.

With scoring high amid wet and windy morning conditions, the Irishman remains in contention after a 74.

Harrington, who won in a play-off at Carnoustie last year, was a doubtful starter after injuring his wrist.

England's Justin Rose, returning to the scene of his 1998 Open heroics, matched Harrington's score.

The pair are five shots behind Graeme McDowell, Rocco Mediate and Robert Allenby, who top the leaderboard after carding 69.

606: DEBATE

Harrington aborted his practice round on Wednesday after just two shots, complaining of pain in his right wrist.

The 36-year-old Irishman told BBC Sport he had come close to pulling out "at a number of different stages".

He added: "During the last 24 hours I hadn't done anything with the hands so I didn't know whether it would be good or bad and I didn't test it in any shape or form. Thankfully it was OK."

Harrington received a loud cheer as he appeared on the first tee as scheduled at 0758 BST.

Rose found the conditions tough at Royal Birkdale

He got off to a shaky start with a bogey on the par-four first, but recovered to make par on two and three.

Harrington also bogeyed the fourth and sixth but birdies at the fifth and eighth saw him reach the turn on one over.

Bogeys at the 11th, 17th and 18th took some of the gloss off his round but Harrington was satisfied.

"The injury should be better again on Friday so I'm quite happy," said the Irishman.

"I haven't played my way out of the tournament assuming that the weather stays the same all day. I've got something to play for - another 54 holes.

"A bad day helped as there was not time at all to think about anything but your next shot and trying to get the club dry and hitting it.

"After a while I did get more comfortable and was hitting the ball a lot better."

Rose, who finished fourth in 1998 as a 17-year-old amateur, struggled to the turn in 38 but parred every hole on the back nine.

"It's been a long, hard day," said the Englishman.

"It's just a matter of digging in and scrapping it out."


see also
Open day one as it happened
17 Jul 08 |  Golf
Open day one photos
17 Jul 08 |  Golf
The Open leaderboard
17 Jul 08 |  Live scores


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