Harrington’s late birdie run comes up just short of Team Singh at PNC

Ronan MacNamara
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Vijay Singh and Qass Singh after winning the PNC Championship (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Regular club golfers, particularly the younger generation are often criticised for using their mobile phones on the golf course or listening to music while playing.

Surely watching Lionel Messi win the FIFA World Cup is an excuse right? Pádraig Harrington certainly thought so during the final round of the PNC Championship.

While the three-time major champion and his son Paddy were embarking on a run of seven successive birdies their eyes were cast towards events in Qatar in between shots and who could blame them.

“We did watch a bit of football while we played,” admitted Harrington. “Yeah, great game.”

Team Harrington started strongly with four birdies in five holes before a fifth came at the par-4 7th. Their challenge for the title was halted by a bogey on 8 but the pair found relaxation in watching Messi and Mbappe lock horns while walking the fairways.

Patrick Harrington putts on the sixth green as Padraig Harrington looks (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The two Paddy’s made a late tilt at the title with eight birdies in a back nine of 28 and a final round of 60. But in the end it was only good enough for fourth place as they ran out of holes to finish four shots behind Vijay Singh and his son Qass on twenty-two-under.

“Golf, certainly for me, Paddy for two, when you’re enjoying it, you play better.  That’s the way it is.  We were reasonably relaxed.  Definitely felt like Ronan, my caddie, had already entered the festive spirits.  He was giddy all day.  That’s what this event is about, really.  It’s not just to play with our kids.  We are obviously here to have an enjoyable experience and we did. ”

It’s the fifth time the 51-year-old has teed it up in the exhibition event with his son and he feels a potential title could come their way after seeing improvements in Paddy over the years.

“Just getting better.  He’s hitting lots of shots, the two wedges the first two holes were his wedge shots closer.  He holed a lot of putts.  That sort of stuff, tee shot at the last, there’s just more and more shots he’s adding.  We did putt well.”

Tiger and Charlie Woods teed off just two back of Justin and Mike Thomas but things never clicked for the pair who finished in a share of 8th place.

Although they had an eagle on the card they also carded two bogeys on 7 and 17 which summed up their day.

It was an incredible week just to be able to play with Charlie and to be able to experience it, again, with the Thomases, again, for basically the third straight year, or second straight year,” explained Tiger. “To be able to have Jani and Mike and obviously the two Joeys on our side, we had the most amazing time inside the ropes with each other.

“And then Charlie and I, we played great yesterday. And today we were both like walking penguins out there. It was all good, though.”

Team Daly will rue four successive pars on the back nine before eagling the par-5 18th as they came up two shots shy of Team Singh after a 59.

Team Singh matched that score on a day that was built on seven opening birdies in a row.

Vijay and his son stumbled briefly with four pars in a row of their own before a run of birdie, birdie, eagle saw them seize the initiative before finishing with two birdies in three holes to take the title for the first time.

Qass stole the show with a bullet 2-iron to the 14th green to set up that crucial eagle as the Singh’s won for the first time at the sixteenth attempt, although they had no idea until they approached the 18th green.

“Well, I mean, we went out there really hard,” said Vijay. “I think we birdied the first seven holes and today he hit two of the best 2-irons I’ve ever seen in my career. The one on 14 was just incredible.

“So he played really well. I’m really proud of him and you know we putted well as well. We got — it was kind of sketchy in the middle there, 9, 10, 11, but to get it to two back, the eagle on 14, funny thing is we don’t really know what’s going on there until 18.

“So Alastair or whoever is looking, should put some scoreboards out there so we have some idea what the hell we are doing out there.”

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