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My game is well suited to 'fun' Ballyliffin course, says leading Irishman Padraig Harrington

By Gareth Hanna

He was, much to his surprise, rated as a 66/1 outsider before play began on Thursday morning and by the time he holed out on his final hole, he would have been a lot less than that.

Padraig Harrington ended the morning as the best placed Irishman at Ballyliffin, carding a -4 round of 68 to sit just a shot behind the Irish Open's clubhouse leader Ryan Fox.

Round a thinking man's golf course like Ballyliffin's Glashedy Links, the 46-year-old's hoping the first round is a sign that the track suits his style.

"It definitely plays into my strengths," he reflected.

"I think a lot of times, a lot of tournaments I play now would be the opposite. The whole field plays it a certain way and maybe the most orthodox player tends to have an advantage, which I suppose is right but when it comes to links golf that's not the case.

"There are so many ways to play a hole out there. You can carry trouble, lay up short of trouble, you can play to one side where you know even if you're in the rough, you know you're okay. There's just a lot going on.

"And I don't fully know this golf course, so I'm really relying on my links experience rather than my local knowledge, let's say. But it can catch you out, too. Don't worry, it does. It doesn't always go as well as it went today but it certainly plays more into my hands on a links course."

Harrington tees off on Friday afternoon at 1.30pm on the first.

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