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Padraig Harrington four shots...
Golf

Padraig Harrington four shots off the lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Padraig Harrington has made a steady start at golf's Omega Dubai Desert Classic, he's four shots off the lead after a one-under-par opening round 71.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain recovered from two early birdies to finish his round with Harrington sinking back-to-back birdies on the final two holes.

Graeme McDowell and Open champion Shane Lowry both opened with level-par rounds and trail leader Thomas Pieters by five strokes.

"My drivers and three woods weren't very good today but somehow I found the greens and if I did hit a fairway I took advantage of it," said Pieters on European Tour Radio after establishing a one shot advantage over David Lipsky.

"I played the par threes very well which means I'm hitting my irons good as I did last week and I just rolled in a few putts, which was nice.

"I've been working on my putting really hard and wanted to see some progress. I saw that today and hopefully we can keep it up. I'm looking forward to the next three days."

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau is two-under into day two and the American admits the course played more difficultly today than 12-months ago:

"It's playing at least four shots harder than last year if it was to stay like this, no doubt, the fairways are tightened up.

"It's a very, very good test of golf and you have to make sure your wedge game is on and your iron play out of the rough is on because you're going to be in there.

"I'm still working on the driver, it's a work in progress, but it will be a work in progress until I can get the right stuff in my hands."

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