Harrington rekindles past glory with PGA Champions Tour victory at Newport

The veteran Irish golfer says he performs best when his back is to the wall after he nails the 54-hole Hoag Classic

By KT Golf

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Padraig Harrington of Ireland. - AFP File
Padraig Harrington of Ireland. - AFP File

Published: Tue 26 Mar 2024, 5:52 PM

Padraig Harrington made a birdie on his final hole to win the 54-hole Hoag Classic at Newport Beach on the PGA Champions Tour.

Harrington, 52 years old, had rounds of 63, 67 and 69 for a 14 under-par total of 199 to win by one shot from Thongchai Jaidee (Thai).

Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain), came in third a further shot back.

With this seventh Champions Tour victory of his career, Harrington moves from 31st to fifth on the season-long Charles Schwab Cup standings.

Harrington showed typical resilient play over his last few holes. He double bogeyed hole16, to stand one back of Jaidee.

He hit back with a birdie on the par-three 17th hole with a 20-foot putt.

On the par five home hole, Harrington was in the greenside bunker in two and got down in two for victory.

“This is the great thing about the Champions Tour. It allows us to relive our past glories,” the Irishman said. “We get to hit shots where we feel anxious, we feel nervous, we feel excited.

“And it doesn’t change when you’ve got a putt to win or a shot to win, you don’t want to mess up in front of people.

“I never make it easy; don’t do it simple,” Harrington joked afterwards. ‘I think one of my best traits in golf is when my back’s to the wall, I’m pretty good at taking things on.

“I knew I could finish birdie-eagle if I had to. I was very focused and just took it on,” he added.

“I was a little unlucky. I hit a nice tee shot on 17, and where I finished up, we thought it was a fraction to the right. And then, obviously, I hit a bad tee shot on 18, but the second shot worked out really well where it was.

“I was never not getting up and down from there. When you’re presented with an opportunity, you’ve got to take it,” said Harrington.

Coached by Peter Cowen, Harrington still considers himself a global player – and just loves playing the game. He competes on not just the Champions Tour - but also on the PGA Tour as well as the DP World Tour and in 2023 he made the cut in three of golf's Majors - the PGA Championship, the US Open and The Open.

This week he is competing in the Texas Children’s Houston Open on the PGA Tour.

Results (Par 71)

Harrington (Ire) 63. 67. 69. 199.

Jaidee (Thai) 62. 69. 69. 200.

Jimenez (Spain) 65. 68. 68. 201.

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