Padraig Harrington holds his nerve to secure first European Tour win in eight years at Portugal Masters
Padraig Harrington produced a near flawless final round to claim his first European Tour victory since 2008 at the Portugal Masters this afternoon.
The Dubliner entered the last day one shot off the lead but recorded a brilliant round with six birdies and no bogeys to edge England's Andy Sullivan by one stroke.
The decisive moment down the stretch came at 17 when Harrington missed the green with his second shot but rolled his third to five feet. He tapped in for birdie before parring the last to clinch victory - although the tournament was only secured after a great up and down from the rough after his approach to 18 hit the grandstand.
After two birdies on the front nine, Harrington's round really caught fire at the 11th and 12th, sinking back to back birdie putts before a brilliant approach shot to the 14th saw him record another.
"The bunker shot on 11 was the turning point. After that, I felt it was my tournament to win." https://t.co/DcS7UpabWC— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 23, 2016
Sullivan matched him with a -6 round but the Englishman could only par the 18th, allowing Harrington to win on the European Tour for the first time in eight years.
Speaking to Sky Sports after his victory, Harrington said: "A lot of good things went for me this week, I played nicely. A good change of attitude at the start of the week and no doubt during the week I got my breaks.
You win majors if you're not winning. Back in the world's Top 100, a PGA Tour win before end of '16 would put @padraig_h in the Masters.— Brian Keogh (@IrishGolfDesk) October 23, 2016
YES!— Roy Curtis (@RoyCurtis68) October 23, 2016
Padraig Harrington again a champ in Europe after 8 years.
Timeless class, immense grit.
One of the great competitors#PortugalMasters
"I've got to say that I've been in a good place all week mentally, I was very relaxed, very comfortable no matter what the outcome was.
"I knew I'd get an opportunity at some stage. Every last round I've ever played, whether I've won or lost there comes a pivotal point and if you take it, it turns the tide in your favour and obviously holing the bunker shot at 11 was a huge plus."
On winning his first European Tour event since 2008, he said: "I've won plenty since then, I've been winning one a year for the last number of years so I'm comfortable enough in knowing that there was going to be a win. Every year you want one and I haven't had one this year, so I'll be able to put down 2016 as a winning year."
His win today has helped Harrington climb to 43rd in the Race To Dubai standings and this could alter his plans for the coming weeks. He had been due to compete in the States.
"I'm going to take a strong look at.
"Probably the biggest priority for me now is to figure out a way to qualify for the Masters. I'll have a look to see how I sit. If I play the last three, can I move up in the order of merit? or would I be better off going at world ranking points? It remains to be seen."
More to follow