Padraig Harrington matched Rory McIlroy’s opening 71 in the first round of the 2012 Masters – but Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell were slightly off the pace at Augusta.

Like McIlroy, Harrington is four shots off leader Lee Westwood and tied for 14th place.
Clarke is a shot behind his fellow Irishmen on level par with McDowell two over after a 74.

Harrington, who has only broken par in the opening round at Augusta three times in 13 attempts, was happy with his round.

“I’m pleased,” said Harrington to the media afterwards. “There are very few players burning it up.

“Conditions are very good out there for scoring in terms of there’s no wind, greens are soft. But I think they were aware of that and put in some tough pins today.

“I made a few changes to my putting this week, and I was very happy with what I saw out there today. Whether it continues like this for the next couple of days, I don’t know.

“It looks like I turned a little bit of a corner with the putting and I’ve been playing very nicely besides that. I didn’t play as well today, but hopefully over the next few days I’ll put the two together.”

Three time Major winner Harrington maintained he is calm and confident ahead of the second round.

He added: “I’m very relaxed. My whole game, I know it’s good, and at the end of the day I’ll just let it happen, play away and see what the result is.”

Padraig Harrington pictured in Augusta