Pavan overcomes Harrington for Czech triumph

Andrew Pavan claimed his maiden European Tour title in spectacular style at the D+D Real Czech Masters, as a back nine birdie blitz – which included a monster putt at the par three 16th – helped the Italian topple three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington.

It was a thrilling battle between the two playing partners, who shared a three-shot lead heading into the final day at Albatross Golf Resort, and Harrington appeared to be cruising to a 16th title when they reached the turn.

The Irishman was three shots clear but Pavan turned the tide with a stunning back nine performance. The 29 year old picked up shots at the tenth and 12th holes to close the gap before Harrington almost holed out from the tee at the par three 13th, a birdie two seemingly closing the door on Pavan.

But a birdie from Pavan at the 14th paired with a bogey for Harrington at the 15th meant they were all square with three to play.
The crucial moment came at the 16th as the Italian sank a 30-foot putt for a birdie two and the outright lead. Another birdie at the 17th meant he held a two-stroke advantage on the 18th tee, parring the last for a five under 67 and a two-stroke victory on a 22 under total. The win moved him to 39th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

“I obviously don’t feel like I lost it, Andrea won it for sure.” Said Harrington. “He played great coming home and holed the decisive putts. I get my fair share of wins but it wasn’t my day today”

“To shoot 20 under par on any golf course, you’ve got to put some numbers together so I’m happy with that, Andrea just finished really well. He played lovely golf all day to be honest and made those birdies. It’s a pity but I’ll settle for this most weeks.

“I’ll give myself plenty of chances to win and I know it’s a numbers game, some weeks it will be my turn for the putts to drop and hit the right shots at the right time.

“I play well on this style of golf course, with flier lies and on these types of greens I can get up and down a lot. It frees me up so I can go for plenty of pins and make birdies. I know I can get up and down from most of the lies. It’s very similar to where I won the Portugal Masters, the right type of golf course for me.”

After a pretty disappointing season Harrington was straight into looking at the positives on competing with the younger generation and
looking forward to carrying the form he found this week into the future.

“I don’t feel I have an issue playing against these younger guys, I feel I can certainly keep up with them and I have some good things in my own game. Even from a week like this, you learn more when you get in contention.”

“I’m seeing things about my game that I can improve and work on. I’m in a nice place, I just have to keep doing the good stuff and hopefully there’ll be more tournaments like this ahead.”

Speaking after his win Pavan added
“It’s amazing, it’s massive. I’ve won four times on the Challenge Tour but it was a long time ago. I’ll enjoy this one because it’s really hard to get and I’ll just keep working on the stuff that seems to be working and enjoy the success.
“I’m going back home tomorrow and we’re having a second baby, a little girl is coming on Wednesday. We’re really excited about that and I can’t wait to celebrate with my family.

“Padraig has got so much experience, such a great player and he played lovely. The putt on 16 was massive. It could have easily gone both ways, he was ahead of me most of the day but after I got ahead I stayed aggressive, which I’m pleased I did because it came down to the last.

“On the 17th I was getting a bit emotional, just trying not to get ahead of myself. I think playing against Padraig, knowing how good he is, it kept me grounded and in the moment a bit more, knowing he could easily birdie the last two.

“I was really trying to birdie the last two. It’s just amazing. It’s going to take some time to sink in.”

Scores:
266 A Pavan (Ita) 65 69 65 67,
268 P Harrington (Irl) 66 68 65 69,
271 G Green (Mas) 64 68 70 69,
273 L Slattery (Eng) 65 72 68 68, S Jamieson (Sco) 67 68 68 70,
274 T Lewis (Eng) 69 66 71 68,
275 J Kruyswijk (RSA) 70 68 69 68, G Bhullar (Ind) 68 71 70 66,
276 P Widegren (Swe) 71 69 69 67, J Guerrier (Fra) 71 67 71 67, L Bjerregaard (Den) 68 72 67 69, H Stewart (USA) 69 70 69 68, T Pieters (Bel) 64 70 71 71, J Winther (Den) 65 68 75 68, E Pepperell (Eng) 66 71 68 71, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 69 67 68 72, M Schwab (Aut) 69 69 69 69,
277 D Willett (Eng) 68 70 71 68, N Elvira (Esp) 65 73 69 70, A Bland (Aus) 71 68 68 70, S Vincent (Zim) 67 71 68 71, P Karmis (Gre) 69 71 69 68, J Scrivener (Aus) 71 68 71 67,
278 J Ritchie (RSA) 70 70 67 71, A Rai (Eng) 67 68 72 71, M Nixon (Eng) 68 70 71 69, S Gallacher (Sco) 69 70 72 67, R Cho (Kor) 70 70 70 68,
279 N Bertasio (Ita) 66 71 67 75, S Heisele (Ger) 72 67 70 70, C Tarren (Eng) 64 72 70 73, J Walters (RSA) 71 69 69 70, M Kieffer (Ger) 69 70 68 72, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 71 66 71 71, S Lee (Kor) 66 69 71 73,
280 H Porteous (RSA) 71 69 69 71, M Baldwin (Eng) 70 68 73 69, M Wallace (Eng) 70 65 73 72, R Paratore (Ita) 67 72 72 69, A Knappe (Ger) 67 69 69 75, D Howell (Eng) 69 71 72 68, J Morrison (Eng) 70 69 71 70, J Smith (Eng) 70 69 68 73,
281 T Pulkkanen (Fin) 65 69 70 77, R Bland (Eng) 69 71 71 70, N Cullen (Aus) 68 70 73 70, J Donaldson (Wal) 68 68 74 71, B Hebert (Fra) 69 70 69 73, L Herbert (Aus) 69 71 71 70,
282 D Lipsky (USA) 69 69 70 74, C Ford (Eng) 70 70 75 67, P Angles (Esp) 67 73 72 70, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 69 73 69, C Syme (Sco) 66 70 72 74, A Connelly (Can) 69 70 70 73, P Hanson (Swe) 66 69 74 73, R Evans (Eng) 67 73 72 70, D Boonma (Tha) 70 69 70 73,
283 A Chesters (Eng) 68 72 75 68, J Daly (USA) 64 75 70 74,
284 L Westwood (Eng) 66 72 72 74, C Koepka (USA) 67 69 75 73,
285 J Thomson (Eng) 68 70 76 71, P Peterson (USA) 70 69 77 69,
287 J Edfors (Swe) 70 69 73 75, C Shinkwin (Eng) 67 73 68 79, C Hanson (Eng) 72 67 75 73,
288 J Choi (Kor) 69 70 74 75,
289 B Neil (Sco) 68 69 73 79,
292 S Hend (Aus) 71 69 79 73, S Gros (Fra) 70 70 77 75,



Get all the latest golf news and free digital editions of Irish Golfer delivered straight to your inbox!