Senden in the mix in America
Friday, 24 August 2012
Australia's John Senden made a strong start as Padraig Harrington upstaged Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy with a 64 on the opening day of The Barclays.
Harrington made six birdies on a tough back nine to finish seven under par and lead Americans Nick Watney and Brian Harman by one stroke.
Senden was the best of the Australians at three under after a 68 to tie with Woods, while world number six Adam Scott, Jason Day, Greg Chalmers, Rod Pampling and Geoff Ogilvy all shot one under 70s.
Needing a captain's pick from Jose Maria Olazabal to make the European Ryder Cup team, Harrington knew had to produce a standout performance at the Bethpage Black course.
After bogeying the third, Harrington recovered with birdies at the fourth and seventh before blitzing the back nine.
However, the marquee match-up everyone came to see was that of FedEx Cup leader Tiger Woods and world number one Rory McIlroy.
Woods looked chirpier than usual, with the 23-year-old Irishman said to be good friends with the American, who carded a three-under 68 after a few errant shots early.
McIlroy started the better with three birdies on the front nine but fell away to finish five shots off the lead with a 69.
Spaniard Sergio Garcia, fresh from his first win at the Wyndham Championship that ended a four-year title drought, is two strokes off the pace at five under with American Pat Perez.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson and KJ Choi were among those at 67.