Padraig Harrington arrives in Dubai this coming week a golfer very much on a mission after his rousing final round at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.
Harrington leaped 10 places to 58th on the Race to Dubai money list following a last day effort worth €22,563 that included an eagle and four birdies in his four-under par 67 on the Dom Pedro course.
The Dubliner ended at 10-under par to share 12th- nine shots behind Belgium’s Thomas Pieters who posted a closing three-under par 68 and ended a two-year and 81-day European Tour victory drought with his two shot success at 19-under par.
“I didn’t expect to come down with a two shot lead after we ping-ponged leads,” said Pieters. “I saw Højgaard was up there again but then the 5-iron I hit 17 was the best shot of the day for me. Just how I envisioned it. I ran the first putt by, but I felt comfortable over my putter all week. I’ve been putting really nicely the last five or six weeks. It showed on the last. I saw the line, picked it, hit it and it went in.
“You know on the back nine you can shoot 30 or 29, I’m not going to say easily but it’s out there. I expected someone to get to 17 or 18 from the back of the pack. Matthieu (Pavon) hit a couple of errant shots. Is it pressure? Is it the first time near the lead? I don’t know, but he’s going to learn from it. He played amazing, making a birdie after an eight on 12 was impressive. He’ll be back.
“It does (feel like a long time). Two years is a long time. I’ve had a child in the meantime, who talks and runs around, it does feel like a long time.
“I was going into this week and next week with my back to the wall. I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. I’ve never missed the end of the Race to Dubai and really didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t care if I finished first, second or third. I just wanted to get there, but winning is amazing.”
Three players – the Danish duo of Nicolai Hodgaard (64) and Lucas Bjerregaard (66) along with Frenchman Matthieu Pavon (70) – shared second place at 17-under par.
Harrington now tees-up in this week’s 2021 season penultimate European Tour AVIV Dubai Championship on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Estate in Dubai with the top-50 at the end of the week crossing to the Earth Course at Jumeirah for the curtain-closing DP World Tour Championship.
“My result this week is a step up the mountain towards the top-50 for Dubai,” he said.
“It’s obviously not enough as I think I needed a top six or so, so maybe two shots better but it leaves me less work to do this coming week.
“It was a good back nine there with the eagle on 12 especially after I weathered the storm on the front nine. I double bogeyed the seventh and didn’t play the eighth or ninth very well. So it was nice to settle down and make some birdies.”
Harrington capped his round at the par-5 12th hole hitting a nice drive up the right side of the hole and then landing a 5-wood second shot to around 40-feet and delighted in holing the putt.
Joining Harrington this week in Dubai will be Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell who signed-off for a last round of 68, his best of the week, to share 26th place at seven-under par.
Caldwell, who earned a two-year Tour exemption earlier this year for his win in Sweden, has dropped one place to 98th on the Race to Dubai.
Harrington, Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin, who missed the Portugal Masters halfway cut, will be the only Irish competing in Dubai this week with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry to join the field for the following week’s DP World Tour Championship.
- Full scoring HERE
Leading Irish Race to Dubai Standings (Following Portugal Masters)
- 18 – Shane Lowry
- 20 – Rory McIlroy
- 58 – Padraig Harrington
- 98 – Jonathan Caldwell
- 134 – Niall Kearney
- 168 – Cormac Sharvin