Padraig Harrington knows a thing or two about winning in Palm Beach Gardens. In 2005, he came to the area and won The Honda Classic at the Country Club at Mirasol, just across the street from it’s current home, PGA National. On Monday at PGA National, Harrington made himself a repeat winner at the event, holding off young gun Daniel Berger on the second playoff hole for his first win on the PGA Tour since 2008.
Harrington outlasted Jupiter local and Dwyer and Florida State graduate Berger on the second playoff hole after they both parred the par-5 18th to begin the playoff. Harrington stepped to the tee first at the par-3 17th and, after hitting his tee shot into the water just a little bit earlier in regulation, stuck this one to within five feet of the hole. Berger, who earlier made birdie on the same hole, swapped with Harrington and hit his tee shot in the water.
“Believe it or not, when I get in contention I can still hit the shots,” Harrington said. “I think I found that mental edge I’ve been lacking the last couple of years.”
Both Harrington and Berger had long journeys to get to that playoff. Berger started the fourth round yesterday nine shots back of the leaders, while Harrington shot a final round 70 that saw a bogey, two doubles, and five birdies, including a stretch of four in a row.
Harrington actually had a chance to win it in regulation before the tee shot on 17 went into the water. Needing a par par finish over his final two holes to win by one he double bogeyed 17 and then came back with a birdie at 18 to force the playoff.
Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed, both who held the lead multiple times over the weekend, had shots to win as well before some bad luck struck. Poulter hit five balls in the water in his fourth round on his way to a final round 74. Despite all the water balls, Poulter missed the playoff by just one shot.
“The good is good enough to win. I know that,” Poulter said. “It’s just bitterly disappointing to put myself in the position I have, to play as well as I’ve played … and a couple of loose shots has cost me this tournament. It’s a shame to hand tournaments away. I’ve handed one away this week.”
Water, and the Bear Trap, also ended Reed’s day. Reed played the Bear Trap, holes 15, 16, and 17, in four over on Monday that included a tee shot into the water on 15.
“I actually felt like I hit a pretty good iron shot on 15,” Reed said. “(It) just kind of ballooned on me. … But any time you feel like you didn’t have your A Game and struggling a little bit and be able to finish inside the Top‑10 is always good.”
In addition to the crazy ending to the golf, the tournament was also headlined by some crazy weather.
Bad weather on Friday delayed the second round by a cumulative total of over four hours. Saturday was almost completely washed out after a vicious storm came through just after the second round was finished, dumping almost 5 inches of rain on the course and causing over $110,000 worth of damage including downed trees and the floating scoreboard just off the 18th green blowing over.
As a result, the final groups, including Berger and Harrington, played their entire third round and part of their fourth round yesterday without a break before returning today to finish up the tournament.
The win for Harrington puts him back in the Masters. It also makes him part of a very interesting statistic. For the second consecutive week, the golfer who entered the week number 297 in the Official World Golf Rankings won on the PGA Tour, after James Hahn won at Riviera last week. Hahn also won in a playoff, over none other than Harrington himself.
Harrington also becomes the first sponsor invite to win on the PGA Tour since Lee Westwood won on a sponsor invite in Memphis in 2010.
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