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Harrington sticks hand up for Ryder Cup spot

ESPN staff
August 23, 2012
Padraig Harrington was in great form on day one © PA Photos


Padraig Harrington put his hand up for a Ryder Cup wildcard after claiming the clubhouse lead at the Barclays Tournament in Farmingdale with a sublime 64.

The Irishman has played on four winning European sides in the Ryder Cup but is relying on Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal to name him as one of his wildcard picks on Monday to feature once more in the biennial showdown.

The three-time major winner was in terrific form in New York, overcoming the disappointment of an early bogey to roll in eight birdies - including four in a row from the 11th - to lead by a stroke from American duo Nick Watney and Brian Harman.

US PGA winner Rory McIlroy continued his good form, opening with a two-under 69. He was not at his fluent best but there were enough patches of brilliance, especially on his first nine holes (he began at the 10th), to put him among the chasing pack.

The Ulsterman sits one shot behind Tiger Woods and world No. 2 Luke Donald. Woods was consistent rather than spectacular, hitting 72% of greens in regulation and requiring 28 swings of the short stick across his 18 holes. Donald, beginning on the back nine, struggled to get much going early on but, after the turn, a birdie at the first injected fresh impetus and, although a bogey threatened to knock his confidence, he picked up three more shots to put himself in the frame.

Sergio Garcia guaranteed himself a place in Olazabal's team for next month's Ryder Cup at Medinah, Illinois, by winning the Wyndham Championship last week, and he produced another stirring display on the opening day of the first of the FedEx Cup play-off events when shooting a five-under 66. Lee Westwood sits alongside McIlroy on two-under.

Ian Poulter is widely expected to be handed one of the two places Olazabal will decide for the forthcoming Ryder Cup, but he pushed his case further with a morale-boosting three-under 68 on Thursday.

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