Padraig Harrington Fires 61 and Breaks Course Record at Transitions Championship

Carlos TorresContributor IMarch 15, 2012

PALM HARBOR, FL - MARCH 15:  Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays reacts to a birdie on the seventh hole during the first round of the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 15, 2012 in Palm Harbor, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington shot 61 on his opening round at the Transitions Championship and broke the course record of the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida.

He is the is the clubhouse leader by three shots over Will Claxton and by five shots over a number of players tied for third place.

Many of the favorites like Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson and defending champion Gary Woodland were still playing on the front nine.

Harrington's feat was for the most part thanks to having 11 one-putts today (1.286 average) and hitting 14 greens-in-regulation (77.78 percent). He was not that accurate from the tee as he was able to hit only 46 percent of the fairways.

Harrington's previous best round was a 63. His 61 is the lowest round he has ever shot on tour and eclipsed the previous course record of 62 shared by Jeff Sluman (first round-2004) and Mark Calcavecchia (third round-2007).

Calcavecchia went on to win the tournament while Sluman finished tied for 20th. Which fate will Harrington follow?

So far it has been a dream week for him. He made a hole-in-one during his pro-am round, and today he had a bogey-free, 10-birdie round, including the final three holes.

Harrington tamed the most difficult hole on the course, the par-four 460-yard 16th hole. He was not intimidated by the water that runs along the entire right side, landing his drive on the fairway just to the right side.

From there, his superb approach second shot from 193 yards away landed within five feet from the hole. He made the easy birdie putt and then continued his hot play by closing with a 75-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and a 17-footer on the 18th hole.

Harrington has only five wins on the PGA Tour—three of them majors. The last time we saw Harrington winning on tour was on August 10th, 2008, when he won the PGA Championship by two strokes over Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis.

That was his second consecutive major of the year after winning The Open earlier.

He seems to be having a great start to this tournament and benefited from the beautiful conditions today on the course. Will this be a resurgence from Paddy? 

There is only one way to find out. Watch the tournament. Let's keep watching as we might have history in the making again.