Harrington stand out performer on opening practice day

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Colin Montgomerie has thrown his support behind Padraig Harrington claiming the Irishman had sparkled on the course on the first practice day.

Harrington enters the tournament in contentious circumstances after the world number 22 was preferred to the world number seven and matchplay specialist Paul Casey.

“I know what Padraig can do and that’s why he was picked,” said Montgomerie, “he’s had three eagles out there today and is playing the best golf of my team right now.”

Montgomerie’s comments have been designed to shift the focus away from Harrington, but they may backfire with extra pressure now on Harrington to perform if he is selected for Friday morning’s fourballs.

In the 2004 Ryder Cup, Harrington was in tremendous form taking four points from a possible five, but he has lost eight of the 10 matches he featured in during the 2006 and 2008 Ryder Cups.

He is currently 12/1 to be the top European point scorer and can be backed at 9/4 to be the top Irishman, but he will have to play better than Rory McIlroy, 11/8, and Graeme McDowell, 7/4.

Harrington has proved he can handle the pressure of the big occasion with three major wins.

But it’s his current temperament when he knows his game isn’t at its peak, which means he’ll be tempted to fiddle during rounds which could prove costly.

Especially in the foursomes when his playing partner, which looks likely to be Luke Donald, will have to recover from any stray shots.

Europe are 11/10 to win the foursomes on Friday afternoon which is understandable given the potential pairings available to Monty, but if he tinkers too much, USA are a decent bet at 11/4 to win Friday’s foursomes.

Europe continue to generate support and are 8/13 to win the Ryder Cup. See the full 2010 Ryder Cup betting odds market here.

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