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Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington had to consult with a Rules official on his very first hole after knocking his second shot into the Swilcan Burn. (Getty Images)

Harrington knows he needs major improvement -- and quickly, if he wants to contend

Padraig Harrington's opening round began with a double bogey on the opening hole and didn't get a whole lot better. Now, he says, he needs three rounds in the mid-60s to even have a chance.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (PA) -- Two-time British Open champion Padraig Harrington says he will probably have to shoot three rounds in the mid-60s from here on out if he is to have a chance of claiming a third Claret Jug.

The Irishman shot a 1-over 73 in ideal scoring conditions on the first day at St. Andrews, leaving himself already 10 shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.

Harrington's round didn’t begin well when he chipped into the Swilcan Burn with only his second shot on the way to a double-bogey 6 and things didn’t improve much after that.

"I did all the superfluous things well and all the important things badly: you have to hit your wedges close and hole your putts, and I did neither of those things and paid the price," said the 38-year-old. "Starting the way I did, hitting a very poor chip shot, I was always trying to get back into it. I was treading water while everyone else was going forward. All day nothing was happening for me.

"I know I need to play well from here on, but there are 54 holes and I just need to score a bit better,” he said. "But I probably need three rounds in the mid-60s between now and Sunday.

"I also need to get the right side of the draw. I know the leader is also on my side, but I need to play 72 holes,” he added. "I don't have much chance if I don't get through Friday, but I wouldn't be unhappy if it was sunny in the afternoon, for example."

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