Fisher makes early impression
Published 28/07/2011 | 10:02
Ross Fisher made an adventurous start to his Irish Open title defence at Killarney on Thursday.
Back on the course where he had a record 61 in the second round last year and then held off a charging Padraig Harrington on the final day, Fisher rescued a par on the opening hole after pushing his second shot into the hazard alongside Lough Leane.
The Ryder Cup player, yet to hit form this season and down to 63rd on the world rankings, then made a 15-foot putt to birdie the second and be only one off the early lead.
Setting the pace at two under were Fisher's fellow Englishmen Graeme Storm and Simon Khan and also Australian Scott Strange.
Among those alongside Fisher was playing partner Rory McIlroy. Making his first competitive appearance on home soil since capturing the US Open in June 22-year-old McIlroy had to work hard for his pars on the second and third after pulling his approach shots, but then birdied the 418-yard next.
Behind them Graeme McDowell - last year's US Open champion and part of the amazing Northern Irish success story that now includes Open champion Darren Clarke - parred the first four holes.
Clarke, returning to action two weeks after lifting the Claret Jug at the 20th attempt at Sandwich, and Harrington were among the later starters.