Ryder Cup duo impress in Masters warm-up

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The Independent Online

Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald began the final warm-up event for the Masters in impressive style yesterday when as playing partners for the first 36 holes of the BellSouth Classic in Atlanta, the Ryder Cup team-mates posted four-under-par rounds of 68.

It gave them joint fourth place midway through the opening day's play, four adrift of the pacesetting Australian Gavin Coles, whose US Tour career-best 64 included a 189-yard bunker shot into the 17th hole for an eagle two.

Coles had every reason to think he would hold centre stage all day, but the defending champion Phil Mickelson raced to five under after just six holes and was in joint second place with fellow American Brett Wetterich.

Harrington also had an eagle on his card. The Dubliner's approach to the long 18th only just made it over the lake, but he then rolled home a putt of 56 feet. That was his ninth hole and after bogeying the short second Harrington sank birdie putts of seven and eight feet on the third and sixth to move into contention at an event where he finished fourth two years ago.

Donald holed from almost 45 feet at the short 11th, his second, and five more birdies followed, including a superb closing drive and seven-iron to eight feet on the difficult 472-yard ninth.