A resurgent Padraig Harrintgon heads south to this week’s British Masters after grabbing a third top-of-the-board finish in four events at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Harrington battled the bitterly cold and continuing windy conditions to produce a bogey-free final day 69 and muscle his way to a share of seventh place at nine-under on the Old Course at St. Andrews having set his alarm for 5.30am before finding his way to the 15th tee and 8.30am start to play.
He birdied the 18th for a second day running and then moved to eight-under with a birdie on four and to nine-under with a birdie at the next, and a day after having holed a 30-footer for eagle at the par-5 fifth. He then pared his remaining nine holes for a third top-10 in four events having finished second on the Czech Masters and fifth a fortnight ago in Portugal.
“It was pretty tough out there but in saying that, I felt I could have finished a few more places higher but then to hole a 10-footer for par on my last hole, the 14th was nice,” he said.
“When you look at the draw we probably got the best side of the draw playing those last few holes on the scorecard first as there is some really, really nasty holes heading to 18. Overall, it was a good week in tough conditions as I did hole a few good putts in a week I felt I didn’t get too many breaks.”
“So, I’m happy enough heading now to Walton Heath.”
Ryder Cup star Tyrrell Hatton saw his goal of becoming the first player in 11-years since Tiger Woods to win three events in succession falter with back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 to virtually hand the trophy to Dane Lucas Bjerregaard.
Bjerregaard, who had shared the lead on day two, came from behind, and despite a bogey at his last, denied the Englishman with a closing 67 to capture a second Tour title by a shot at 15-under par.
And Bjerregaard admitted afterwards he drew inspiration from being present last week in the European Ryder team room thanks to captain and mentor, Thomas Bjorn.
“I first met Thomas in 1997 when he played in his first Ryder Cup and he was kind enough to invite me the Saturday of last week’s Ryder Cup, so I went,” said Bjerregaard.
“He showed me around and while it was a busy week for him, I was in the team room and the locker room and it would be lie if I said I wasn’t inspired going home from there.”
Hatton shared second with fellow victorious Versailles teammate, Tommy Fleetwood as the forecast of 60kph plus winds saw the final- round bizarrely played in a ‘shotgun’ format, usually reserved for Wednesday pro-ams, and to the credit of organisers the round was completed and Bjerregaard handed the trophy just after 2pm.
It was only a third occasion in recent times such a format had been in place at a European Tour event including playing the final two rounds of the 2015 Portugal Masters also under a ‘shotgun’ start.
While this week’s British Masters venue, Walton Heath, has hosted a Ryder Cup (1981) the staging of the British Masters will be a first European Tour since the club hosted the European Open (1987 – 1991). Since 2005, the Surrey course has played host each year to a US Open qualifier and earlier this year Harrington just fell shy of qualifying for Shinnecock Hills.
Greystones’ Paul Dunne is defending champion having a year ago denied Rory McIlroy thanks to a 72nd hole chip-in birdie. However, Dunne has now missed the cut in three of his last four events including scores of 78 and a pair of 73s last week in Scotland.