Harrington closes with birdie barrage

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2006 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Soren Hansen and Ross Fisher each shot an 8-under 64 Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
 
Hansen played his back nine at 6 under, sending a second shot within inches of the cup for a tap-in eagle at the final hole. Fisher eagled the 12th with an 18-foot putt at the 7,150-yard Kingsbarns layout, the easiest of the three courses at the annual links event.
 
Martin Kaymer shot a 65 for third place, while a group of nine players shot 66. Three of those rounds came on The Old Course at St. Andrews, while Thomas Levet (67) had the best score at Carnoustie.
 
British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington, who won in 2002 and 2006, birdied five of the last six holes for a 67 to share 13th place.
 
Im still feeling pretty tired but I really enjoyed it, Harrington said. I do need time off but this week is very relaxed, so you cant fail to have fun.
 
Ernie Els struggled at Kingsbarns before making three birdies on the last six holes for a 73, while defending champion Nick Dougherty shot 74. Both will have to scramble to make the cut.
 
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Lee Westwood, who battled through a three-hole playoff at the British Masters on Sunday before the Spaniard won, each had 68s.
 
Hansen, a Dane whose partner in the pro-am event was heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko, won only half a point from three matches at the Ryder Cup two weeks ago. But said he learned plenty from the experience.
 
I learned that I can handle the pressure under the most extreme circumstances, he said. I really think I have the game for it.
 

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