Harrington takes control at PGA Grand Slam
Posted on: 12:50 AM IST Oct 24, 2012
Reuters: Triple major winner Padraig Harrington, a late addition to the four-man field, birdied three of the last five holes to grab a two-shot lead after Tuesday's opening round of the end-of-season PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.
The 41-year-old Irishman, who replaced British Open champion Ernie Els in the elite event which brings together the winners of the year's four majors, fired a sparkling five-under-par 66 at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton. Harrington sandwiched birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th around a bogey at the 16th to finish two strokes clear of American left-hander Bubba Watson, the Masters champion.
Webb Simpson, winner of this year's U.S. Open, was a further shot back after carding a 69 in the 36-hole event while fellow American Keegan Bradley, the defending champion, shot a 72. Harrington, who accepted an invitation to compete at Port Royal after South African Els withdrew on Saturday because of an ankle injury, is bidding to win the prestigious event for the first time after twice losing out in playoffs.
The Irishman was edged out by Argentina's Angel Cabrera in 2007 and was pipped to the title by American Jim Furyk in 2008. Bradley, winner of last year's PGA Championship, gained his spot in the field as the first alternate after Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy pulled out due to a scheduling conflict.
McIlroy, who clinched his second major title by a staggering eight shots at this year's PGA Championship, had already committed to the European Tour's BMW Masters, being played this week in China. The Grand Slam of Golf, billed as "the most exclusive tournament in golf", was held in Hawaii from 1991 to 2006 before moving to Bermuda in 2007.