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Padraig back near Major-winning form

PADRAIG Harrington has proved he is back in Major form after finishing in the top 10 in Augusta.

The three-time Major winner picked up €200,000 for his return to good form, and beamed with pride after the event.

"I feel really good about where I am and I feel I'm on an upswing. I hope this is me back to Majors-winning form," said the Dubliner.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy faded after a promising start -- by Saturday morning he was just one shot behind the leaders. But a poor performance then saw him fall from the leaderboard as Irish eyes then turned to Harrington, who easily finished the best of the four Irish with a final round 72.

It was Harrington's best Augusta finish since sharing fifth four years ago.

His placing will earn him valuable World Ranking points and bring him back in to the 70s in world position after being in 100th place heading to Augusta. His return to form will also earn Harrington plenty of Ryder Cup points.

Padraig powered his way up the board on Saturday with five birdies over his closing six holes lying just five off the lead.

His last day started well when he birdied the second for the fourth time in the tournament, parred the next three, and then birdied the par-three sixth hole for the first time. But his momentum then waned over the next eight holes.

"It was a good day all the way," said Harrington. "I played well, hit it well, so it's been a very positive week, it's no disaster," he added.

He said a double-bogey did him no favours, but didn't dwell too much on it.

"It's not like it cost me the tournament. It might have cost me a few dollars. That was it," he explained.

The winner was USA's Bubba Watson, who broke down in tears after a play-off with South African Louis Oosthuizen.

hnews@herald.ie


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