Donegal Golf - DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN

Harrington leading the Irish challenge at the Irish Open in Donegal

Ballyliffin proving a fair test for golfers

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Harrington leading the Irish challenge at the Irish Open in Donegal

Padraig Harrington

Former winner Padraig Harrington is leading the Irish challenge at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club after the first morning's play.

Harrington finished at -4, just one behind the leader, Ryan Fox of New Zealand, a son of former All-Black scrum half Grant Fox. Fox carded a round of -5.

The highlight of Harrington's round was a chip in for birdie at the 17th, while he also had a great birdie at the picturesque 7th.

Derry native, but with big Downings connections, Ruaidhri McGee was also going very well and is still on the course at -3 with five holes left to play.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell also had a good opening round, finishing in -1, but it was a bad morning for the defending champion Jon Rahm, who was frustrated on a number of occasions, and he finished +2 and will need a good round on Friday to get back in contention.

The other big Irish favourites, Paul Dunne, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are just under way with their rounds.