Padraig Harrington has set himself a list of targets to achieve on the PGA Tour Champions after picking up his third victory of the season at the Ascension Charity Classic.
The former Ryder Cup captain continued his dominance of the seniors circuit with his third win in his last seven starts, a run that has seen him finish outside the top-four just once, as he secured a one-shot win over Y.E. Yang at 14-under.
Harrington signed for a three-under 68 in his final round to keep himself just out of reach of the Korean, despite two bogeys in his last three holes, and the $300,000 first place prize money takes his season earnings to just over $2.43million.
But the 51-year-old is not content to stop there and has revealed he has set himself some loftier targets both short and long-term on the PGA Tour Champions.
“It feels good. It was nice to win at the start, get that monkey off my back. Then I started focusing on the Schwab Cup and the only way to catch Steve (Alker), he’s continued to play well, is to get wins myself,” explained Harrington.
“Three wins is nice. I think I have six more to go, but I’ll need to win again at least once if not twice to come out on top. Then you start thinking like how many Hale Irwin’s got, how many Bernhard Langer’s got.
“So there’s lots of goals, but it’s nice that as a young guy out here, it’s a new start, there’s no doubt about it. As I said in the speech, we’ve had our day in the sun, we’ve had our glory, but it’s nice that we can come back out here and we can wave at the crowds and swan around like we’ve done something.
“If we play well, we get to relive all those pressures. We’re probably not quite as good as we were when we were younger in terms of handling pressure, but we’re probably a bit smarter.”
After two early birdies to start, an approach shot on the par-three fourth came up short in the water and led to a double-bogey for Harrington, but three birdies before the turn and another at the 11th took him three shots clear.
Two birdies at the 14th and 15th came either side of bogeys at 13 and 16 to make it a little closer than he would have liked, but Yang could only post 13-under in the clubhouse after a seven-birdie, two-bogey 66 which was, at that time, two behind.
That gave Harrington the buffer he needed to bogey the 18th and still come out with the win, and the US Senior Open champion believes he still has plenty more to give off the back of this success.
“I came out and I played very nicely early on. I was hitting the ball nice, made a couple of birdies, feeling good,” he added.
“You know, not that I went after the pin so much, I was going after the pin on four, but probably
early enough I tried to hit a low eight-iron. I got it on the top of the clubface and surprising that it
came up short in the water. Then Bernhard (Langer) came up short as well.
“I didn’t mind hitting it in the water, it was missing the four-footer that put me under a bit of pressure. The one thing you want to do in the last round is to knock in your short putts so then you can feel a bit more aggressive on your medium and longer putts. So missing that putt was definitely a bit of a blow.
“But you know what, I think I hit four wedges very tight today and I also hit the three par-fives (in two) and the par-four (in one), so I had four eagle putts on top of that. So I made a comfy eight birdies. So there was few mistakes, but there was plenty in the tank today.”
Meanwhile, Darren Clarke finished his tournament on a disappointing note as a final round two-over 73 saw him drop back to five-under-par overall and a share of 24th.
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