Singh and Harrington are both winners
Tournament: Volvo Masters
Venue: Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
WinnerJeev Milkha Singh
Never has finishing second in a tournament tasted as sweet as it did for Padraig Harrington at Valderrama on Sunday.
In the most dramatic finish to a season since Colin Montgomerie sank a three-foot putt on the last to deny Sam Torrance in 1995, Harrington pipped Paul Casey to the European Tour Order of Merit title – all thanks to a closing bogey by Sergio Garcia in the Volvo Masters.
The bogey left Indian Jeev Milkha Singh, ranked only 147th in the world, as the shock, but comfortable winner of the £446,598 first prize and put Harrington into a three-way tie for second.
The 30th runners-up finish of the Irishman’s career was just enough to edge him £23,616 ahead of Casey, who until then looked set to be crowned European Merit Order successor to eight-time winner Montgomerie.
Harrington, who put himself into contention by winning the dunhill links at St Andrews two weeks ago, never led the race until that moment.
David Howell was the front-runner from last November until Casey’s victory in the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth in September.
The 35-year-old Dubliner, runner-up to Retief Goosen in 2001 and 2002, was on course to be the bridesmaid again when he pulled his second to the long 17th into the lake.
But Harrington pitched to eight feet, made the par putt, then produced another battling par on the 454-yard last.
This time he hooked his drive deep into the trees. There was no way he could make the green, but he pitched to four feet and made the putt.
At that moment he was in a three-way tie for third – not good enough for the Order of Merit crown.
But then came Garcia’s awful approach to the last, shoved right into a bunker, and an equally poor recovery attempt that came up over 30 feet short of the flag.
The putt was never on line and at that moment Harrington could start to celebrate and Casey, whose own 69 could lift him only to 21st place following his food poisoning at the start of the event, knew his fate as well.
“I’m very disappointed for Paul Casey – a lot of things conspired against him,” said Harrington. “But this has been a big goal of mine.
“I never lost patience and over the last six holes I just willed the ball into the hole and everything went for me.
“It took a long time for it to happen, but my focus has been excellent all week. I kept my head in the right place.
“When I finished I did the maths and knew I couldn’t afford a four-way tie (for second).
“I saw Sergio afterwards and told him that he owed me one – I lipped out from six feet in a play-off against him in Westchester (on the US Tour two years ago).”
As for Singh, Garcia’s closing five meant he could afford to bogey the last once he had hit a magnificent shot over the lake to 12 feet on the 17th and two-putted for birdie.
Taking five down the last took none of the gloss off his superb display. A closing 72 meant he added the title to the Volvo China Open he won in April with a two-under-par aggregate of 282.
Harrington was joint second with Garcia and Luke Donald, while Howell, who had needed second place to keep his Order of Merit hopes alive, finished joint fifth – a fine effort considering he was “50-50 at best” just to tee off on Thursday because of a shoulder injury.
Robert Karlsson, the other player who flew to Spain with a chance of the money list crown, finished alongside Casey in 21st spot.
Harrington, joint 13th at the start of the day, gave himself a real mountain to climb by bogeying the first two holes.
He was six off the lead at that point and five off where he needed to be for the Order of Merit.
But they were to prove his last dropped shots and birdies at the fourth, 11th, 14th and 16th – a 35-footer there – brought him right back into the thick of things.
Casey had finished by then and could do nothing about it. But Harrington could – and he did.
As for Garcia, he is still looking for his first win of a year in which he has now had 11 top finishes. This near-miss could hurt him a lot.
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 71):
282 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)
71 71 68 72 (£446,598)
283 Luke Donald 69 71 74 69, Padraig Harrington 73 69 72 69, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 71 70 70 72 (£199,818 each)
284 Niclas Fasth (Swe) 67 75 71 71, David Howell 70 73 70 71 (£103,701 each)
285 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 74 71 71 69, Lee Westwood 69 70 72 74 (£73,689 each)
286 Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 66 76 77 67, Gary Orr 72 74 72 68, Phillip Archer 69 71 77 69, Ian Poulter 70 75 70 71, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 70 78 66 72, Marcel Siem (Ger) 69 72 72 73, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 73 69 73, David Lynn 69 71 72 74, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70 68 73 75
287 Anders Hansen (Den) 72 72 72 71, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 73 75 68 71, Paul McGinley 73 72 70 72
288 Paul Casey 76 72 71 69, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 75 75 69 69, Soren Hansen (Den) 71 72 73 72, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 68 74 72 74, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 69 74 70 75, John Bickerton 71 71 70 76, Johan Edfors (Swe) 68 74 69 77
289 Colin Montgomerie 77 73 69 70, Paul Broadhurst 73 74 71 71, Richard Green (Aus) 67 73 74 75, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 71 71 72 75
290 Thongchai Jaidee (Thai) 79 71 71 69, Graeme McDowell 67 78 74 71, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 70 73 72 75
291 Kenneth Ferrie 77 69 73 72, Anthony Wall 71 77 69 74, Simon Dyson 73 69 74 75
292 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 78 72 72 70, Simon Wakefield 69 76 75 72, Simon Khan 74 70 72 76
294 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 74 73 75 72, Marc Warren 74 74 71 75
295 Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 71 78 74 72, Peter Hanson (Swe) 74 75 72 74
296 Graeme Storm 72 79 76 69, Nick Dougherty 77 76 71 72, Markus Brier (Aut) 73 74 73 76
297 Damien McGrane 76 76 74 71
298 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 81 70 73 74
299 Stephen Dodd 80 76 70 73, Bradley Dredge 77 75 73 74
300 Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 76 75 78 71
302 Brett Rumford (Aus) 73 79 75 75
309 Andres Romero (Arg) 78 79 78 74
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