Sport Golf

Saturday 18 November 2017

Harrington heads to Augusta full of positives

Bernie McGuire, in Houston

Padraig Harrington left Texas en route for Augusta delighted with his best ever finish in the Shell Houston Open.

The triple Major champion is still 30 months without a win on the PGA or European Tour, but there were plenty of good signs in Texas to boost his confidence ahead of his 12th appearance in the Masters.

Harrington signed for a final-round 70 yesterday for an 11-under-par total -- Phil Mickelson won the event by three shots from fellow Americans Scott Verplank and Chris Kirk, firing five straight birdies from the ninth hole on his way to a 65 for a 20-under total.

Harrington also had the further positive of having broken par over all four days -- something he has not been able to achieve since first playing in Houston in 2005.

His fourth day got off to a positive start when he birdied the second hole after he put his second shot from well left to 15 feet and holed.

But Harrington -- who had a poor finish to Saturday's round -- then took three strokes to get down from 30 feet short of the flag at the next for bogey.

However, he raced to 11-under with birdies at the fourth and fifth holes, before giving a shot back in three-putting the par-three seventh.

He then posted five straight pars before finding the par-five 13th in two and two-putting from 60-feet to get back to 11-under and he finished with five straight pars.

Lee Westwood's frustration boiled over at the closing hole yesterday.

The Englishman had earlier produced a sizzling four-hole stretch mid-round when he picked up five shots in four holes starting from the seventh before holing a 30-foot putt for eagle at the next.

But after putting his tee shot into a fairway bunker at 18 Westwood then found the water guarding the green and showed his disgust by slamming his club hard into his golf bag and knocking it over.

Westwood walked off moments later with a bogey and a round of 68 for six-under, ending his round just as Mickelson was teeing off.

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