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Rose one ahead of Harrington at Valderrama

SOTOGRANDE, Spain, Nov 1 (Reuters) Europe's money-list race provided dramatic twists and turns today when Padraig Harrington and an ailing Justin Rose stood toe-to-toe in a windy opening round at the Volvo Masters.

It was a case of the hare and the tortoise as Briton Rose, despite suffering a nasty stomach upset, made a quick start with a hole-in-one at the short third.

Five shots adrift of his order of merit rival at the turn, Irishman Harrington rallied with five birdies on the back nine to finish with a level-par 71 against the Englishman's 70.

Rose was in joint third place overall, two strokes behind tournament leader Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland.

With Ernie Els absent from the season's finale, second-placed Harrington and Rose in third are looking to leapfrog the South African at the top of the order of merit.

Rose was delighted to combat his illness and better Harrington's round.

''I would have been ecstatic with my score if I was in tip-top condition,'' he told reporters. ''I didn't have much sleep, I threw up just before my round and every bone in my body aches.

''I feel like I've played 72 holes or gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. Hopefully it's just a 24-hour bug.'' Rose's six-iron shot that sent his ball into the hole from 181 yards at the third offered the perfect tonic.

DIG DEEPER ''It got my adrenalin going and obviously enabled me to dig a bit deeper,'' said the Englishman.

Harrington, the British Open champion and 2006 order of merit winner, was satisfied with his round after suffering a one-shot penalty when his ball moved two feet in the wind at address on the seventh green.

''You have to tell yourself you're going to turn it around,'' said the Irishman. ''I thought I'd have to do that over 54 holes and didn't think I'd do it in nine.

''I think Justin helped me, he showed me it was possible. If he'd been four over par we might have spiralled into oblivion.'' Harrington's habit of addressing the ball before going through his putting drill proved damaging.

''I thought a while ago that some day it's going to cost me a shot,'' he said.

McDowell grabbed two birdies in the last three holes to complete his 68, one ahead of Irishman Paul McGinley.

Australian Peter O'Malley shared third spot with Rose while Britain's Ross Fisher and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin tied for fifth alongside Harrington.

Reuters BJR VP0032

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Story first published: Friday, November 2, 2007, 1:02 [IST]
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