2006: Deja vu for Harrington
St. Andrews, Scotland
Four years ago, Padraig Harrington left St. Andrews with the Dunhill Links Championship trophy following a European victory at the Ryder Cup.
On Oct. 8, Harrington left the same course with the same trophy after another European Ryder Cup win, and put himself in prime position on the European Tour’s Order of Merit.
Harrington’s closing 4-under 68 solidified his 16-under 271, and five-stroke victory over Bradley Dredge, Edward Loar and Anthony Wall. It was Harrington’s 10th European Tour victory – and first in more than two years. The Irishman said coming down the last fairway with the tournament in his grasp was an uncommon feeling.
“You don’t win too many tournaments when you can come down 18 knowing the job is done, and it’s all the more special at St. Andrews when you’ve got the crowds there,” Harrington said.
Dredge was impressive through three rounds. He set an Old Course record with a 64 in the first round at the recently lengthened layout, and followed with a 67 at difficult Carnoustie. He stumbled down the stretch, however, and finished with a 2-over 74. One of the most crucial holes during the final round was the par-3 11th. Harrington used a three-shot swing to his advantage, making birdie as Dredge recorded a 5 after finding the sand.
Harrington also took home the team title as he and J.P. McManus had a 72-hole better-ball aggregate score of 35-under 252.
One last swing: Veteran Englishman Mark Roe turned in a closing 5-under 67 to finish tied for 15th, then bowed out of the European game after 21 years.
Roe’s wife, Julia, and twin daughters Emily and Alexandra were there to meet him when he left the final green.
“It doesn’t get better than that, I wanted them to be here, and for me it’s the perfect ending to 21 years on tour,” Roe said.
Roe, 43, played 525 European tournaments in a career that began in 1981. He won three times – the 1989 Catalan Open, ’92 Lancôme Trophy and ’94 French Open.
– Alistair Tait and wire reports