SHANE LOWRY AND Padraig Harrington swung into the new year with solid starts at the Volvo Golf Champions on Thursday.
The Irish pair are tied for 11th following opening rounds of two-under-par 70 in windy Durban, five shots behind early leader Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand who fired eight birdies as he raced to the top of the leaderboard.
But there was disappointment for Antrim’s Michael Hoey who was flying high before his challenge faltered with double bogeys on 16 and 18.
Hoey finished the day on level par, three shots ahead of last year’s British Open champion Darren Clarke who had two double bogeys of his own in a round of 75.
The 33-man field at the Durban Country Club this week is made up of players who won European Tour events in 2012.