Padraig Harrington believes his game is turning a corner in time to give him a chance of lifting his third successive Open Championship.
The defending champion shot a one-under-par 69 in the first round at Turnberry after three days on the range trying to iron out problems in his swing which had seen him miss his last five cuts in main tour events in Europe and America.
Harrington has been working with coach Bob Torrance and while he admits there was still an air of apprehension about his round, he insists the belief is returning.
He said: “I would have taken that score before I went out. Any time you are shooting in the 60s in a major tournament you can't be too displeased.
“I hit the ball well but played with a certain amount of trepidation. I wasn't the most confident after the last couple of weeks.
“I didn't really have the confidence to chase the pins and was trying to hole from 25 to 30 feet for most of the day. I wasn't shooting the lights out but it gives me hope for the next three days.
“I spoke with Bob and the plan was to try to build it every day in terms of my belief. I certainly struck the ball really solidly. If I trust it a bit more it's looking good.”
Harrington birdied the 474-yard par-four fifth and the 559-yard par-five 17th with his only bogey coming at the 16th.
He added: “There is a lot of golf to be played. If I play good golf from here on in then hopefully I'll be there or thereabouts with nine holes to play and anything can happen.”