Harrington starts strongly in Texas

4/5/2013 1:00:00 AM
Padraig Harrington  (Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington (Getty Images)
An opening 68 was enough to put Padraig Harrington firmly in contention at the Valero Texas Open.

The Irishman was one of four players tied for second at the end of round one, with Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo reaching five under to claim a slender lead.

Harrington, whose only bogey came when he three putted the last, admitted he had enjoyed his fair share of good luck in cold and blustery conditions.

"It was cold and that really does affect the ball," he said.

"I didn't have a great ball-striking round but my misses were either in the right places or I got slightly fortunate and then got up and down.

"I'm not walking away from this round thinking 'wow, I hit a number of pure golf shots' or anything like that. It was more mental fortitude than ball striking.

"This morning, early on, it was a battle of survival."

Peter Hanson and Ian Poulter each made steady starts on the difficult Oaks Course with rounds of 70, while World Number Two Rory McIlroy carded a level par 72.

Every member of the field will be hoping to find their best form ahead of the first Major Championship of 2013, the Masters Tournament that starts at Augusta National next Thursday.