Wednesday 21 March 2018

Harrington boosted by surprise payday

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington

William S Callahan

Padraig Harrington has landed himself an unexpected windfall thanks to an unfortunate injury to Ernie Els.

The Dubliner has suddenly found himself called into the four-man PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal in Bermuda tomorrow and Wednesday, and even if he finishes last he will earn £125,000.

Harrington replaces British Open champion Els, who has pulled out with a left ankle injury, and in an event meant to bring together the season's four Major winners, he is up against Masters champion Bubba Watson, US Open winner Webb Simpson and last year's USPGA champion Keegan Bradley -- himself a replacement for Rory McIlroy.

The world No 1 qualified thanks to his USPGA victory in August, but is defending the BMW Masters title in Shanghai this week, while second and third alternates Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods are also honouring commitments to play in Asia.

"While my entry is under unique circumstances, I am excited to compete in the event again," said Harrington.

"I came close the last two times I was there, losing in play-offs to Angel Cabrera in 2007 and Jim Furyk in 2008, so maybe the third time will be a charm."

Els, winner in 1997 and 2010, stated: "I am bitterly disappointed. It is a great reward for winning a Major and something I have enjoyed in the past and was looking forward to again.

"Unfortunately, I sprained my left ankle a few days ago and while it isn't too serious and should recover relatively quickly, I have been advised not to try and play on it."

The winner of the competition receives £375,000 and the runner-up £187,500.

Meanwhile, Bo Van Pelt clinched his first victory on the European Tour with a two-shot triumph in the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

American Van Pelt came into the final day with a one-stroke lead after holing a 60-foot birdie putt on the 18th on Saturday and picked up a shot on the first yesterday to set the tone for his round.

He finished on 16-under overall after carding 68 to beat compatriot Jason Dufner by two shots, with first-round leader Alejandro Canizares three strokes further back in third. "Jason and I had a great battle and played well. It definitely got tight there at the end but luckily for me I came out on top," Van Pelt stated.

"Lake Karrinyup was a great test of golf all week. It's been a battle; the wind blew, the greens were firm and fast, and it was just a joy to play all week.

"Whenever you get a lead you want to take advantage of it, so it was nice to finish one off this week."

Dufner paid tribute to his fellow American, saying: "Bo played really good today, put a lot of pressure on me to make something happen but I couldn't quite do it. You're going to have a hard chance winning when someone plays as well as Bo did."


Van Pelt demonstrated nerves of steel around the green and rolled in from 15 feet at the seventh to turn in 32, before picking up his fourth and fifth birdies of the day immediately afterwards.

He two-putted at the 15th to give Dufner hope of catching up, but Van Pelt birdied the next and another dropped shot at the 17th proved inconsequential after Dufner had bogeyed the 16th.

It was 37-year-old Van Pelt's third career victory and he will now defend the title he won in Malaysia in 2011 -- the Pacific Asia Classic.

Paul Casey finished in a tie for fifth -- alongside fellow Englishman David Howell, Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Rhys Davies of Wales -- after producing a marvellous final round of 67.

Irish Independent

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