Padraig Harrington makes impressive start to Irish Open

The Irish Open had a popular leader through 18 holes, with Padraig Harrington getting to seven-under on Thursday.

Padraig Harrington carded a seven-under 63.   -  Getty Images

Home favourite Padraig Harrington enjoyed a serene first round at the Irish Open as he claimed a one-shot lead on Thursday.

The 47-year-old carded a seven-under 63 for his lowest opening round on the European Tour for 18 years in just his second event of the season. Harrington, who suffered a broken wrist earlier in the year, made eight birdies and relished the experience.

"It would definitely be up there with one of the simplest, easiest, most pleasant days ever on the links," he was quoted as saying by the European Tour website.

"I know I don't have to play as well as that for the next three days. It would be nice if I did but we'll just go out there and try and do more of the same. If nothing good happens for the next three days, so be it. I know I'm on the right track."

Harrington sits just ahead of South Africa's Zander Lombard, while seven players — including Thorbjorn Olesen and Eddie Pepperell — are grouped together on five under.