Harrington loses ground in Charles Schwab Cup bid as sensational Couples claims SAS title

Adam McKendry

Fred Couples poses with the trophy after winning the SAS Championship (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Adam McKendry

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Padraig Harrington climbed the leaderboard on the final day of the SAS Championship but lost ground in the Charles Schwab Cup standings on the PGA Tour Champions.

A late triple-bogey at the par-four 16th cost the 51-year-old a much higher finish as a closing three-under 69 saw him end the week at four-under-par and in a share of 25th.

Harrington was always too far back going into Sunday’s third round, and he would end the tournament a whopping 16 shots behind winner Fred Couples, who cruised to a six-shot victory.


But more concerningly for the Dubliner is he has lost a little bit of ground in the Charles Schwab Cup race after leader Steven Alker finished second at the SAS Championship.

Harrington was never going to catch the New Zealander in this event either, although he made a good fist of it with seven birdies, however his one and only mistake was a catastrophic one as he carded a seven on the 16th.

The gap between him and Alker is now $344,360 with three events remaining, meaning the three-time Major champion is running out of time to claim the Order of Merit title in his rookie PGA Tour Champions season.

On this occasion, nobody was defeating Couples, who beat his age by three shots in his final round with an absolutely incredible 12-under 60 at Prestonwood Country Club to claim a six-shot victory.

The 63-year-old finished his front nine with five straight birdies and then rattled off another seven-in-a-row on his back nine in an utterly ridiculous round that saw him reach 20-under-par, with Alker next best on 14-under after a closing 64.

“It’s easy to say because we’re standing here, but I think it’s the best round I’ve ever played,” Couples said.

“I hit a few loose shots, got away from them, but I made so many putts. I don’t know what other rounds I’ve ever shot on the Champions Tour that are close to 60, so this would probably be my best round and lowest score by far.

“I’ve shot 58 and 59 before, never in a tournament, but for a little bit of money and stuff, and you pay a lot of attention, but today I just was trying to stay two or three ahead of Jerry [Kelly] because I knew he could birdie at any given time.”

Meanwhile, Darren Clarke finished positively as he also concluded with a 69, consisting of four birdies and one bogey, to end the tournament tied-30th at three-under-par.


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