Harrington on his 64
Padraig Harrington talked to SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio following his opening-round 64 at The Barclays.
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Padraig Harrington, the three-time major winner looking for his first PGA TOUR win since the 2008 PGA Championship, shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at The Barclays, the opening event in the 2012 FedExCup Playoffs.
Nick Watney and rookie Brian Harman are one shot behind at 65. Sergio Garcia — last week’s winner at the Wyndham Championship — is joined by Pat Perez, Gary Christian and Jimmy Walker at 66.
Regular-season FedExCup points leader Tiger shots 68, while one of his playing partners, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, shot 69. It was the first time the two had ever played an official round together at a PGA TOUR event.
Players took advantage of ideal scoring conditions at Bethpage State Park Black Course, which showed its teeth in hosting U.S. Opens in 2002 and 2009. Midway through Thursday afternoon, there were as many rounds shot in the 60s (26) as there were for all four days of the 2002 U.S. Open. In all, 34 players shot rounds in the 60s on Thursday.
"I didn’t think it was playing that easy," Garcia said, "but obviously there were a lot of good scores."
Watney said that a combination of soft greens and rolling fairways "made the course play miles shorter than the U.S. Open in ’09." But he added, "I think the golf course will only get tougher from here."
Harrington, who won The Barclays in 2005 and finished tied for second in 2009, shot his second lowest round of the year. After making the turn at 1 under, he heated up on the back nine, shooting a 6-under 29 that included a string of four consecutive birdies.
"I’ve been playing well for quite a while," said Harrington, who entered this week ranked 62nd in points, ‘but this is the best I’ve putted, the best I’ve struck my putts, the best I’ve rolled the ball for a long period of time."
Woods and McIlroy had similar feelings after their rounds — decent efforts but could’ve gone lower. They’ll have another 18 holes together in Friday’s second round along with Zach Johnson, in the lead group for FedExCup points.
"We’re trying to shoot 3 under, 4 under, 5 under," McIlroy said about battling Woods. "We’re not trying to beat each other. Of course, it’s nice, but you’re playing the course first and foremost."