Harrington hangs on to win Irish Open
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2007 Irish Open | Wrap | 21 May 2007
Padraig Harrington might not yet have won a major and he may well be considered amongst the best players to never have won such a title, but his win in today’s Irish Open at Adare Manor might well have given him as much satisfaction.
If asked, most golfers would say that the tournament they most want to win outside of a major is their own national open.
“I’ve always said that after the four Majors this is the next event I’ve wanted to win. I felt the pressure. It was probably the most nervous I’ve been for many a tournament. I put myself on the the line by saying I do not want to finish my career without winning an Irish Open and that puts more pressure on you. That makes the win even nicer. I am chuffed with myself to have done it.”
It has been some 25 years since John O’Leary last won the Irish Open for Ireland and it appeared for a while today that Harrington might let a significant chance slip from out of his grasp. As he made the turn in today’s final round he had a four shot lead over the man who would threaten his dream, Bradley Dredge. Dredge started the round in second place but despite two early bogeys he reached the turn in 34. Unfortunately for Dredge he had lost ground to Harrington over the opening nine but things began to turn pear shaped for Harrington.
A bogey at the 11th and the margin was three and when Dredge birdied the 12th there was just two shots between them. A bogey at the 13th by the Welshman appeared to give Harrington breathing space but a chip in at the 14th and a long putt at the 15th had Dredge back within one. Dredge bogeyed the 16th but a two shot swing occurred at the 17th when Dredge birdied while Harrington dropped a shot and they played the 72nd hole on level terms at 5 under par. It was a three shot hole for both and neither had realistic birdie putts and so it was to the first playoff hole, the 18th.
Dredge pulled his third shot at the par five and presented Harrington with the title but nothing could be taken from Harrington’s victory.
There was a gap of four shots back to the third placed Simon Wakefield who was in a position to challenge before three bogeys early in the back nine.
In fourth position were Richard Green, Andres Romero and Louis Oosthuizen. Green, the best of the Australians this week, returned to competitive golf after a break of nearly three months since his first round loss at the Accenture. This was just his fifth tournament of the year and points to another successful season in Europe.
Brett Rumford was 52nd and Matthew Zions 69th.
The European Tour now heads to England for the first time in season 2007 when the BMW PGA Championship gets underway at Wentworth on Thursday.