Paddy Harrington poses with the trophy after winning on the second playoff hole on Monday.
Palm Beach Gardens - Padraig Harrington outlasted the field on a rare Monday finish
on the PGA Tour. The Honda Classic endured Tiger's absence, Rory missing the cut,
and some crazy bizarre storms that rolled through South Florida on Friday & Saturday.
The tournament might have finished a day late, but the Champion Course at PGA
National did not disappoint, producing the drama that it has become known for.
Harrington finished regulation with an even par 70 (-6 total), but standing on the 17th
tee with the solo lead, he fanned a three quarter 5 iron into the hazard. Needing birdie
on the last, he poured in the 16 foot birdie putt to bounce back and reach the playoff with
21 year old rookie Daniel Berger.
Berger posted 64 early on Monday, and waited around as the field crumbled through
the "Bear Trap". After both players made par on the first playoff hole (eighteenth), they
headed back to the par 3 seventeenth. Harrington stepped up and stiffed the 5 iron this
time to 4 feet. Berger feeling the heat, blocked his tee shot into the hazard and made
double bogey five. Harrington had three putts to win (and took two of them) to secure
his sixth PGA Tour Victory.
"I think I found that mental edge that I've been lacking the last couple of years," Harrington
said. “The one good thing for me … when I get into contention I can hit the shots. The problem
has been when I starting the week with middle-of-the-road shots, easy shots, I’m just not
hitting them. When I’ve got tough shots I can hit them. So, I wasn’t afraid once I got myself
- like the last nine holes I felt like a different person to when I was nine under par.”
“There’s no doubt on your way back down it’s a lot different, but hopefully this isn’t an isolated
win. I hope not. I really do believe in myself. I think I really found that mental edge that has
been lacking the last number of years and, hopefully, I can stick with that going forward and
be consistently contending. Because I know if I am contending I can win.”
Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson each finished with 73's and faded down the stretch. Reed
rinsed his tee shot at the par 3 fifteenth (making double bogey) and also bogeyed the
sixteenth finishing at -3. Mickelson's putting cost him again, starting with his opening putt
for par on the ninth to start the day (he finished at even par for the week).
It appeared that Englishman Ian Poulter had the tournament in hand early on Monday,
but a series of miscues including a double bogey on the par 4 - eleventh, and a triple bogey
on the par 4 - fourteenth all but ended his hopes. He did finish with birdies on the last two
holes to finish one stroke back at -5.
The win was Harrington's sixth of his PGA Tour career (first since 2008). He has moved up
from in 297th in the world to 80th, and gets the Irishman back to the Masters.