By John Manley
After enduring seven runner-up finishes in 2001, Padraig Harrington bagged the Volvo Masters Andalucia at the Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort in Spain. He sank a birdie putt on the 18th green to pull one shot ahead of Paul McGinley, who was playing in the group behind. Harrington then watched as McGinley, needing to hole a 25-footer to tie, came close but his ball rested on the grass after it stopped spinning.
The course was buffeted by high winds on Saturday, necessitating a postponement of play until Sunday. The tournament was whittled to 54 holes as a result. Harrington, who began the final round three strokes behind McGinley, finished 11 under par at 204 (67-71-66). McGinley was second at 205 (66-69-70), one stroke ahead of Adam Scott.
Darren Clarke tied for fourth place at 207 (70-68-69). He was in with a chance until the 16th hole, where his second shot splashed into the water. He left the green with a bogey six.
“Obviously, to win the Volvo Masters Andalucia in any career is a big deal and especially mine,” Harrington said. “This is by far the biggest title I’ve won. It is every little kid’s dream to hole a putt on the last to win and I couldn’t ask for more.”
“What can I say?” McGinley asked, rhetorically. “I rallied very well after a bad start and let everyone back into the tournament. Obviously, it was Padraig’s day. The law of averages was going to balance out eventually and I am happy for him.”
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Last week’s report jumped the gun in declaring the Volvo Order of Merit as final. Actually, this tournament closed the books on the 2001 race. Retief Goosen remained at the top after finishing tied for 10th in Spain on Sunday. Harrington, with earnings of 2,090,165 euros, displaced Clarke in the second spot. Clarke earned 1,988,055 euros. McGinley, who amassed 1,464,433 euros, moved up to eighth place.
PGA Tour Q-School
Keith Nolan’s quest to regain his PGA Tour card is still alive. The Wicklow man tied for ninth place in a second stage qualifier at the Kingwood/Deerwood Golf Club in Deerwood, Texas. He shot 283 (72-71-71-69) for 72 holes. The low 20 scores plus ties advanced to the finals, which are slated to begin Nov. 28 and continue through Dec. 3 at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Euro Tour Q-School
Gary Murphy withstood high winds at Peralada in Spain to tie for 11th place in a second stage qualifier. Conditions were such that play was discontinued after 54 holes, with the low 32 players advancing to next week’s finals at Sotogrande, Spain.
Murphy’s 54-hole score was 205 (69-71-65). The final spots were grabbed by those at 210. Failing to qualify were Francis Howley, 211 (76-68-67), Peter Lawrie, 214 (72-70-72), and John Kelly, 215 (67-74-74).