Tournament: dunhill links championship
Venue: Old Course St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Scotland
Winner: Padraig Harrington
Shrugging away a worst-ever personal performance at the Ryder Cup, Padraig Harrington came storming back at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday to claim his 10th European Tour title by a whopping five shots.
With the collapse of his Welsh playing partner and overnight leader Bradley Dredge, the final round turned into a walk in the park for the triumphant Irishman, his closing 4-under 68 at the Old Course at St Andrews giving a him a 16-under 271 winning total that left the chasing pack for dead.
Dredge, who was in command in the middle rounds, finally closed with a 2-over 74, six shots worse than Harrington’s 68, but it was enough to give him a share of second place with England’s Anthony Wall, American Edward Loar and overnight leader Bradley Dredge.
Ernie Els eagled the 18th after driving the green to claim fifth place on 10 under.
The first prize of £427,441 lifted Harrington into second place on the European Tour’s Order of Merit behind Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey – who also closed with a 68 for a share of sixth place – with just two events remaining.
“It’s big, it’s a huge deal,” admitted Harrington, who finished second on the Order of Merit in 2001 and 2002 and third the following two years.
“It’s got to be something you want to put on to your CV; the Order of Merit is directly behind the majors.
“This time of year everything is about the Order of Merit, it gets you going again. I’ve been using it as motivation after the Ryder Cup to get out on the golf course and push on.
“If I’d been further back I would have found it harder to come out and play such good golf.”
Only two events remain to decide who will succeed Colin Montgomerie as European number one, the Mallorca Classic from October 19-22 and the Volvo Masters the following week at Valderrama.
Harrington had not planned to play in Mallorca but added: “Valderrama has not been the happiest hunting ground for me so anything I can get in Mallorca could push me up a bit. I have to give myself the best possible chance.”
The 35-year-old, who has had 29 second-place finishes, began the final round a shot behind Dredge but immediately wiped out that deficit with a birdie on the first.
Dredge went back in front with a birdie on the fifth after a superb long bunker shot from an awkward stance, but Harrington pegged him back again on the ninth.
The key hole was the 11th however, which saw a three-shot swing in the Irishman’s favour.
Dredge found Strath bunker off the tee and was forced to play out backwards on his way to a double-bogey five, while Harrington holed from 10 feet for a birdie two that signalled the end of the contest.
With a comfortable cushion to work with, Harrington cruised on to his second victory in the event in four years.
He also helped amateur partner JP McManus win the Pro-Am team competition for the second time as well.
“I hadn’t won in Europe for two years, although I won twice in America last year, but it’s great to come back and win,” he added.
“You never want to go a year without a win. It’s very special to win and I’m really happy the way I did it.
“I played great yesterday (a 68 at windswept Carnoustie) and backed it up again today.”
Casey, who overtook Ryder Cup team-mate David Howell on the money list by winning the HSBC World Matchplay at Wentworth last month, led by one shot after an opening 63 at Kingsbarns but struggled to rounds of 74 and 73 at St Andrews and Carnoustie.
“After a tough Friday and Saturday to post a top-six finish is a good result,” said the 29-year-old. “I felt I ground it out well.
“The HSBC was a tough week but the Ryder Cup is, without a doubt, the toughest week I’ve ever experienced in golf, physically and mentally.
“That was very much apparent the week after the K Club and this week was tough as well with the weather.”
Dredge, who won the Omega European Masters on his previous appearance, was disappointed to finish with a round of 74 but at least birdied the last to claim a share of second instead of a share of fourth – a putt worth £73,000.
“It was worth a few bob and I was quite aware of that,” admitted Dredge. “I didn’t have a very good day so it was nice to finish with a plus.
“I thought my tee shot on the 11th was perfect and it was straight down the flag only to see it disappear in the bunker. From there I didn’t have a shot.”
Sheffield’s Mark Roe confirmed his intention to retire from the game and went out in style with a closing 67 over the Old Course.
The 43-year-old, memorably disqualified from the Open championship in 2003 when in contention for victory after a scorecard mix-up, was greeted on the final green by his wife Julie and twin daughters Alexandra and Emily.
“It doesn’t get better than that, I wanted them to be here and for me it’s the perfect ending to 21 years on tour,” said Roe, who has played more than 500 European Tour events.
“Everyone has a choice to make at some point about when is the right time to retire. It just feels like the right time for me.
“I have two beautiful girls I want to see more of rather than being away 25 weeks of the year.
“I have fallen out of love with the travelling, I’ve never fallen out of love with the game of golf.”
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, (x) denotes amateurs)
271 Padraig Harrington 66 69 68 68 (£427,441)
276 Anthony Wall 70 70 69 67, Edward Loar (USA) 70 66 70 70, Bradley Dredge 64 67 71 74 (£191,246 each)
277 Ernie Els (Rsa) 69 67 71 70 (£108,741)
278 Peter Hanson (Swe) 68 68 75 67, Paul Casey 63 74 73 68 (£83,356 each)
279 Paul Broadhurst 70 69 72 68, James Kingston (Rsa) 71 65 74 69, Johan Edfors (Swe) 64 70 76 69, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 69 68 73 69, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 70 71 70, Simon Dyson 66 68 75 70, Lee Westwood 68 75 71 65
280 Mark Roe 67 70 76 67, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 68 71 74 67, Damien McGrane 70 67 74 69, Simon Khan 68 70 71 71, Joakim Backstrom (Swe) 71 70 67 72, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 68 69 71 72, Paul Lawrie 71 65 72 72
281 Phillip Archer 72 69 72 68, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 67 70 74 70, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 67 67 77 70, Ian Poulter 75 65 74 67, Vijay Singh (Fij) 65 70 72 74
282 Gary Evans 65 71 76 70, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 71 71 70, David Park 68 71 72 71, Hennie Otto (Rsa) 69 69 71 73, Nick Dougherty 66 72 71 73
283 Joakim Haeggman (Swe) 73 67 72 71, Oliver Wilson 72 72 69 70, Graeme Storm 72 69 72 70, Peter Baker 70 71 70 72, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 68 70 76 69, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 69 75 70 69
284 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 67 69 75 73, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 72 68 73 71, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71 70 72 71, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 69 73 71 71, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 70 69 75 70, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 69 69 76 70
285 Phillip Price 71 71 70 73, Barry Lane 68 71 73 73, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 71 71 71 72, Anders Hansen (Den) 65 72 74 74, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 66 69 76 74, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 70 68 75 72, Robert Coles 71 67 76 71
286 David Carter 71 70 72 73, Jonathan Lomas 69 76 68 73,
Seven players have now withdrawn from the PGA Tour event for reasons relating to Covid-19.
The Northern Irishman shot seven-under 63.
Colin Montgomerie is worried the PGA Tour isn’t taking the threat of coronavirus seriously enough.
Rory McIlroy reckons it would have been “silly” to shut down the Travelers Championship.
But PGA Tour commissioner warns of consequences for players who ignore safety protocols.
McDowell has pulled out of the Travelers Championship.
The American was forced to withdraw from the Travelers Championship after the diagnosis during pre-tournament screening on Tuesday.
Brooks Koepka is looking to win a historic third successive title at the event.
Andrew Coltart reckons if the Ryder Cup can go ahead, it should go ahead.