HE may be one of the older swingers in town, but the increasing years have certainly not diminished Padraig Harrington’s ambitions.

At 47, there’s clearly plenty more left in the tank. A six-under 65 on day one of the Turkish Airlines Open, his lowest score of the season, left him just one shot off the lead at Regnum Carya resort and underlined Harrington’s competitive longevity.

As the qualifying race for the 2018 Ryder Cup intensifies, Harrington has not written off his hopes of playing in the team for the first time since 2010. Ray Floyd played for the United States as a 51-year-old back in 1993 and Harrington is keen to make a strong case himself. Strong finishes here in Turkey and in South Africa next week would certainly help on that front.

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“The reason I’m here is because if you win one of these two events, it puts you right there for the Ryder Cup,” he said. “It would kind of be in your hands if you got a good start like that.”

Thomas Bjorn, the European captain, is also present in Antalya and he is keeping an open mind about potential players for the showdown in Paris.

“Thomas has been very polite in not coming to me and talking to me like a vice-captain,” said Harrington. “He’s leading me to believe I’m still a player which is nice. In a few months’ time maybe that will start changing, though.”

Bjorn’s captaincy has already achieved something of a success with the Dane helping to convince Paul Casey to re-join the European Tour and become eligible for selection again.

A rejuvenated Casey has credited Bjorn’s support and encouragement during the process but the European skipper insisted yesterday that there would be no favouritism shown to the Englishman.

“No, I will not feel obliged as I have to take my 12 best players to France,” said Bjorn. “If Paul is among the 12 he’ll be there. If I don’t see him being among the 12, he won’t and Paul knows that.

“I don’t feel under any pressure to pick anyone because I’ve made no promises to Paul and I won’t make any promises to anyone else. That’s how the Ryder Cup team works. We’ll go with who we feel are the 12 strongest at the time.”

At the Challenge Tour Grand Final, meanwhile, Scotland’s Bradley Neil needs a big push over the last 36-holes to earn promotion to the European Tour.

Neil posted a level-par 72 for a three-under halfway total but, with only the top 15 on the final rankings making the step up, he has slipped to 18th as it stands with two rounds to play.