Harrington struggles in Mallorca

Padraig Harrington's decision to play in this week's Mallorca Classic seems to have backfired, after the man chasing the Volvo Order of Merit crown struggled to an opening round of 77.

A disappointing opening round of 77 in the Mallorca Classic raised questions over Padraig Harrington?s busy schedule this week. Five bogeys and a triple bogey contributed to his poor round on a very tough day.

Harrington (pictured) only decided to play in the event after his victory in the Dunhill Links put him right in contention for the Volvo Order of Merit. An already scheduled commitment meant Harrington was forced to miss the pro-am on Wednesday and fly to England, and he did not return until late last night. This, accompanied by an 8.50am tee-time, seems to have proven too much for the Irishman.

However, Harrington claimed the trip had no adverse effects and instead cited a change in weather conditions as his main problem.

?I didn?t play very well at all and a change of wind direction from what I had practiced in put some doubt in my mind - I made a few bad swings that put me off my stride.?

Harrington - who now finds himself 11 shots behind the leaders Gary Murphy, Niclas Fasth and Andrew McLardy - has everything to do on Friday if he is to make the cut and make this week?s entry worthwhile.

He was not the only top player to struggled around the short but tricky Pula Course. Another playing trying to catch current number one Paul Casey on the money list is Robert Karlsson, who struggled to a one over par 71 along with fellow Ryder Cup player Sergio Garcia. Course designer and defending champion José Maria Olazábal struggled to a round of 78. To complete a poor first day for Ryder Cup players Paul McGinley also failed to beat par.

Of those at the top of the leader board, Irishman Gary Murphy will be particularly pleased as he attempts to keep his playing privileges for next year. He is currently 118th on the Order of Merit and right on the borderline of qualification for next season.

Paul joined Golf Monthly in 2006 in a junior role and has since worked as senior staff writer and now as technical editor. He writes equipment and instruction content and tests the vast majority of golf clubs that are introduced every year.