Padraig Harrington admits that he may have to rethink his schedule moving forward after his second PGA Tour Champions victory of the season took him up to second place in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
The 50-year-old, who turns 51 in nine days, came from behind to win the DICK’S Sporting Good Open at En-Joie Golf Club with a final round 67 to finish three shots clear of Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Canada’s Mike Weir at 16-under.
That, added to his US Senior Open title he won earlier in the year, means Harrington has rocketed up the Order of Merit standings into second place, behind only Steven Alker, who has had a sensational and consistent year.
And with a chance to now catch the New Zealander with a strong finish to the schedule, Harrington concedes it is something he will have to think about when it comes to his plans for the rest of the year.
“I want to play against the young guys but, you know, there’s quite an attraction to being out here. I’m second in the Schwab Cup and I know Steve’s a long way ahead, but numbers are very important that if I skip Wentworth, as I said, I’d probably play two out of those three events in September over here and that would give me a great opportunity to make some inroads,” he said.
“Because Steve is obviously going to keep playing well and win some of his own tournaments coming home, so I’ve got to double down on what he’s doing.
“I think that’s something when you come out here, you’re a young guy, you want to win an Order of Merit. I want to be Player of the Year everywhere I go so, yeah, definitely something I would be focused on and now that I’m in there, definitely something that I’ll be looking at for the rest of the season.”
Harrington had entered the final round in New York one shot behind former Masters champion Weir, but a bogey at the second from the Canadian and birdies for Harrington at the second and third saw that switch around, with another birdie at the ninth from 20-feet seeing the Dubliner lead by one at the turn.
And on the back nine he put his foot down, drilling in two more birdies at the 11th and 12th to pull away and ease to the victory, which takes his record on the seniors circuit this season to two wins, four runner-up finishes and a third place.
Harrington had his adoring family waiting for him behind the green after his win, of which he added: “My wife has been to plenty of wins, but my kids have been at some wins but they were only toddlers so they wouldn’t know what was going on.
“This is the first time I’ve won where they’re grown up and can understand it more and experience it more. In that sense it was a little bit emotional. You know, I’m happy that they could share the experience and enjoy it. Hopefully we’ll enjoy it for the next couple of days as well.”
Darren Clarke finished tied for sixth after closing with five birdies and two bogeys in a three-under 69 to end the week at 10-under-par alongside Ken Tanigawa, Bernhard Langer and Gene Sauers.