Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

‘Maybe I was looking at the victory speech too much’ – Pádraig Harrington wins third Champions Tour title despite late bogeys

Pádraig Harrington poses with the trophy after winning the Ascension Charity Classic at Norwood Hills Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington believes he's learning how to win from the front after he admitted he started thinking of his victory speech to early but dug deep to win his third PGA Tour Champions title of the year at the Ascension Charity Classic in St Louis.

The Dubliner (51) recovered from a double bogey at the fourth and a bogey at the 13th to be three clear with three to play.

While he bogeyed the 16th, he made a clutch par save from seven feet at the 17th and could afford a closing bogey to card three-under 68 to win by just one shot from YE Yang on 14-under and claim the $300,000 top prize.

"I've always had the ability to win when I'm coming from behind, charging - when I have to hit the shots," Harrington said after an eight birdie round and 22-birdie week at Norwood Hills Country Club saw him close the gap on Steven Alker at the top of the Charles Schwab Cup standings.

Pádraig Harrington hits a tee shot on the 10th hole during the third round of the the Ascension Charity Classic at Norwood Hills Country Club

"But what I am seeing here is obviously I am in front and I have to manage that and manage my emotions.

"I thought I did a great job with that at the DICK'S Sporting Goods. It was really simple with no drama.

"Today, I had to try to hit a low shot into the fourth and hit a terrible shot and got it off the top of the clubface and that was a terrible double bogey. And then the bogey on 13 came out of nowhere.

"It was nice to make the birdies to follow up and had some really nice wedge shots. Getting to the clubhouse, maybe I was looking at the victory speech a bit too much."

One clear of Steve Stricker and Bernard Langer overnight, the reigning US Senior Open champion extended his lead with birdies at the second and third.

But while he double-bogeyed the short fourth, he birdied the fifth, eighth and ninth to lead by two strokes from Stricker on 14 under par with nine holes to play.

He then used his power advantage to drive the green at the 300-yard 11th and two-putt from 45 feet for birdie and go three clear.

But while he pushed his second behind a grandstand at the 13th and dropped a shot, he bounced back with a birdie from around three feet at the 14th and another with two putts from 60 feet at the par-five 15th, where he left himself a testing six-footer for birdie.

While he was now three shots clear of 2009 US PGA champion YE Yang on 16-under par, his self-confessed problems leading from the front emerged again.

He'd only won the US Senior Open by one, having led by five heading into the final round and a bogey at the 16th, where he got a flyer through the green from the left rough and missed an 18-footer for par, saw his lead reduced to just two shots over Yang.

South Korea star Yang (50) couldn't cup in for birdie at the last and carded a five-under 66 to set the target at 13-under.

But Harrington tugged a 130-yard nine-iron way left the 17th, and while he hit the hole with his chip, he had to make a seven-footer for par to go to the last two clear.

"I hit it pretty pure," he said of his par putt at the 17th. "There was no tentativeness to the stroke. I was just trying to be committed. I had to talk myself through that. And look, I always know what these things are, I have done the work today.

"I hit four wedge shots pretty stiff and made the putts on top of that. So I have done all the work and I just had to get to the clubhouse.

"Sometimes that's not that easy. Like I did hit it very tentative nine iron into 17. I committed on the chip and it was nice to hold the putt because that's not my favourite hole with out-of-bounds left and right.

"So I was really happy to have a two-shot lead down the last. It made it very easy."

He hit an iron off the tee at the 18th but pushed his 200-yard approach into a green side bunker and made bogey to win by just one shot from Yang on

His cheque for $300,000 took his PGA Tour Champions earnings for the season to $2,430,702 from just 13 starts.

But New Zealander Alker birdied the 15th and 16th coming home and shot 69 to tie for fifth on 10-under.

Alker won $73,600 to retain his lead at the top of the Charles Schwab Cup standings. But he is now just $134,778 ahead of Harrington with seven events of the season remaining and double points on offer at the last three Playoff events in the race for that $1 million Charles Schwab Cup bonus.

"Look, I know Steve is going to do well and to catch him I'm going to have to do a lot of work," Harrington said of his battle with Alker. "And I was thinking a couple more wins, but even now, I'm thinking maybe a couple more still.

"But there are double points in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, so whoever plays the best that last week is going to move a lot."

Stricker shot 69 to finish third, two behind on 12-under as Langer birdied the last to break out of a five-way tie and finish solo fourth on 11-under after a 70.

Darren Clarke tied for 24th on five under after a closing 73.

Related Stories
Padraig Harrington looking to ‘free up’ in quest for third Champions Tour win as Leona falls back
Pádraig Harrington is looking to "free up" and play his normal swashbuckling game as he bids for his third win of the PGA Tour Champions season in the Ascension Charity Classic in St Louis and crucial points in his Charles Schwab Cup battle with Steven Alker.
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Padraig Harrington earns third PGA Tour Champions win at 2022 Ascension Charity Classic
"I just had to get to the clubhouse, and sometimes, that's just not that easy."
Padraig Harrington wins his third PGA Tour Champions tournament of the year in St Louis
The 51-year-old recorded his highest score of the week, but it was still enough for him to win the Ascension Charity Classic by a single shot
'I can't always be relying on those scary eyes' - Padraig Harrington still working on the mental side at 51
Pádraig Harrington admits he's had to work on his mental game to adjust to leading after making a fast start in his bid for his third win of the PGA Tour Champions season in the Ascension Charity Classic in St Louis.
How much prize money did Padraig Harrington earn after winning PGA Tour Champions tournament?
The Portmarnock man is cleaning up on the senior Tour
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Padraig Harrington calls Shane Lowry a 'lightweight' after no answer to 3.30am call
Lowry won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday hours before Harrington claimed his third victory of the year on the PGA Tour Champions in St Louis