Harrington takes big step towards Ryder Cup selection

Padraig Harrington was full of Turkish delight after taking a big step towards European Ryder Cup selection with his gutsy fourth place effort in the Turkish Airlines Open.
 

 Image from Golffile.ie 
 
Harrington repaid a sponsor’s invitation in great manner with all the skills that earned him three Majors with a final round 67 for a 16-under par tally on the Regnum Carya course in Antalya.
 
England’s Justin Rose moved closer to a second European Tour No. 1 title after securing back-to-back victories for the first time in his career in winning the Turkish Airlines Open at Antalya, Turkey.
 
Rose birdied three of his closing four holes in a final round of a six-under par 65 to win by a stroke with an 18-under par tally.
 
The win is Rose’s 10th European Tour success and comes just a week after he captured the WGC – HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
 
“This is an incredibly sweet moment and it is like a bus as you wait ages for one and two turn-up at once,” he said smilng.
 
Harrington went into the final round in the final group but two shots adrift of Shane Lowry and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
 
But while Lowry and Aphibarnrat struggled, Harrington made his move birding the first and while he bogeyed the second, he bounced back with birdies at six and nine.
 
Then after putting his approach shot into the water at 10, Harrington holed his chip shot to save par before the highlight of his round in landing a 169-yard 8-iron shot to 12-feet at the par five, 15th and knocking in the eagle putt.
 
Harrington looked clearly disappointed at the last after a poor 3-wood tee shot but managed to save par, for fourth place on his own.
 
“I am just happy to be in that position of contending as I was happy with my ball-striking which was a big improvement off the tee for me which is very important,” he said.
 
“I have been struggling with that aspect of my game, so that is a positive.”
 
“I know I didn’t win the tournament, but you know, Justin (Rose) clearly went ahead and won it. I didn’t lose it. I made it quite exciting at times out there, but I was happy with what I saw in myself. There was a lot of good things.”
 
“Off the tee, I just hit it so much better this week. My iron play wasn’t as good as it could have been, but my short game was sharp. So I’m very happy with where I’m at. Very positive signs for me.”
 
The effort has seen Harrington go to 18th on the Ryder Cup points table with the chance now to improve his standing given he will contest the closing two events of the season.
 
Lowry’s wait for a fourth Tour title continues with the Clara golfer struggling with the putter and eventually signing for a one-over par 72 and a share of eighth place at 13-under.
 
Sadly, Lowry was one of just two players in the leading 29 players not to post an under par final round score and his included a 12th hole birdie and bogeys at four and 15.
 
“I just never got it going with a few putts close and if a few of those had of dropped it would have been a different story,” he said.
 
Lowry, who had lost Euro 50 earlier in the week on the practice range to Harrington, pocketed a cheque for Euro 134,091 to move from 62nd to 49th on the Race to Dubai.
 
Paul Dunne rounded off the Irish campaign with a last day 72 to share 23rd place on eight-under par.
 
It has seen Dunne remain in 14th place on the Race to Dubai but drop to fifth on the Ryder Cup points table.
 
 All three Irish wasted little time after their round joining a special Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 charter flight bound for Johannesburg and this week’s Nedbank Challenge at Sun City.