Padraig Harrington leads the Senior PGA Championship with a stunning 64

Padraig Harrington leads the Senior PGA Championship with a stunning 64

Padraig Harrington posted an 8-under 64 to take the first-round lead at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship on Thursday in Frisco, Texas.

Eight birdies and no bogeys made up the Irishman’s superb round, giving him a two-shot cushion over Japan’s Katsumasa Miyamoto, who shot 6-under 66.

Harrington, 51, cleared last week’s PGA Championship tied for 50th, so his game was in good shape entering the week at Fields Ranch East, a new course at PGA Frisco that is hosting its first major championship.

He birdied four on the front nine and four on the back, including a chip-in birdie at the par-4 10th.

“I just had, I think I had 170 yards into the wind, I hit a 7-iron that came up probably six yards short of the fringe and I just had to chip it over the collar and I hit it in,” Harrington said. “So — so did a 360. So that was the highlight.”

Harrington also made a 35-foot putt for his first birdie of the day on the par-4 second.

“In some ways the reason it was an easy 64 is because when you play with someone like Rocco (Mediate) there’s always a bit of chat and there’s always a bit of fun going on, so you’re pretty relaxed,” Harrington said. “And it really makes a difference to how you feel about your shots and things like that.”

Harrington already has a senior major title in his pocket, the 2022 US Senior Open. It was his first of four wins at the 50-and-over, although he has yet to break through in 2023.

Miyamoto was pleased with his 66, which included a 50-foot par putt that dropped to No. 15. The 50-year-old is a veteran of the Japan Golf Tour and rarely played in the United States.

“I started with birdie, birdie, birdie, such a nice rhythm,” Miyamoto said. “First tee shot very nervous, but make a birdie, so relax. This course is really tough, the rough is tough. I’ve never seen beautiful course, beautiful and tough and very nice course. I think it’s the best in the world.”

Adilson da Silva of Brazil, who had a bogey-free, 5-under 67, is tied for third place with Phillip Price of Wales.

Tied for fifth at 4-under 68 are seven players: Stewart Cink, Alex Cejka of Germany, Charlie Wi of South Korea, Richard Green of Australia, Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, Robert Karlsson of Sweden and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.

Defending champion Steven Alker of New Zealand opened with a 2-under 70. Bernhard Langer of Germany, who won in 2017, shot a 1-under 71. With another win, he can break a tie with Hale Irwin (45 wins) for all-time PGA Tour Champions victories record.

–Field Level Media


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