Fatiha Betscher reports from Dubai
Padraig Harrington, in the space of less than 70 steps from the back of the 18th green to the scorer’s hut, went from brilliantly qualifying for this coming week’s DP World Tour Championship to being disappointed in ending a 25th season on tour.
Harrington holed a lengthy birdie putt from the front edge of the final green to break into the top-54 qualifiers for the Race to Dubai final following a third straight 67 and a then finishing share of fifth place at 19-under par in the AVIV Dubai Championship on the Fire course at Jumeirah Estates.
The effort, as Harrington shook hands with his playing partners, looked good enough to secure the last spot on the money list into this coming week’s Euro 8.3m event on the adjoining Earth course. It had been top-53 at the start of the last day but with confirmation World No. 1 Jon Rahm would not be competing it dropped to officially top-54.
FIRST HE'S IN & THEN AGONY AS HE'S OUT …
Despite this super final 🐦he's gone from 'in' the DP World final to falling short 😟
— Fatiha Sahnoune & Bernie McGuire (@TOURMISS) November 14, 2021
However, in the short walk measured at 68 steps, including navigating a short climb to the raised scorer’s hut to hand in his scorecard, Harrington actually dropped two places to 56th and then after post-round media commitments, the Dubliner officially ended his year 57th on the Race to Dubai.
It is Harrington’s best season finish since ending 2016 at 53rd but that was little comfort to the 50-year-old in what has been a year of golfing disappointments.
“It’s moved out already and I’ve gone back down to 56th, so I haven’t moved-up at all. I’m still 56th, so I am a long way out”, said a dejected sounding Harrington.
“The birdie putt on the last gave me great comfort as I had really, really struggled all day on the greens. I was very tentative and struggling but that putt at the last, knowing I had to hole it, was great and I wish I could have hit them all like that. I need that sort of pressure. That do-or-die situation makes it a lot easier for me.
“It’s disappointing. It looked like maybe when I moved to fifth and I seemed to have a chance but in the end it was too far.
“What is good is that I can see where I am going wrong. The last couple of weeks have been an eye-opener, and even the Ryder Cup was an eye-opener. I can see what I need to do and what also is lacking in my game and I know how to fix it, so whether I do or not, we’ll see”.
In fact, soon after speaking to the media Harrington dropped to eighth in the tournament and, as mentioned, officially 57th on the Race to Dubai.
Dane Jochim B Hansen brilliantly posted a bogey-free closing round of 68, dropping just one shot over the four rounds, winning by a shot with a 23-under par tally.
For the 31-year-old it is his second European Tour victory and his first being the 2020 Joburg Open where the newly re-named 2021/22 DP World Tour will commence next fortnight.
Two players – Italian Francesco Laporta (69) and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (65) – shared second place at 22-under par.