By John Manley
Padraig Harrington held the lead after 54 holes of the Italian Open at the CircoloGolf course in Turin, but when the trophy was awarded, he had to watch Scotland’s Dean Robertson hoist it shoulder high. Harrington began Sunday’s round a stroke the better of Robertson, with whom he was paired, but his 70 paled next to Robertson’s 68, leaving him one shot behind the medalist.
The two were on even terms over the first 10 holes on Sunday, but Robertson went one-up at 11. Bogeys by Harrington at 16 and 17 enabled Robertson to hit the tee at 18 two strokes the better of his playing partner. Harrington holed out from 15 feet for birdie, but Robertson was game, with his par ensuring victory. Harrington was 16 under par for the tournament at 272 (68-66-68-70). He earned $127,750 for second place.
John McHenry was the only other Irishman to complete 72 holes, but he finished 80th and last at four-over 292 (70-72-76-74). A 36-hole score of two-under 142 was needed to make the cut, a feat beyond the capabilities of Eamonn Darcy, 145 (71-74), Paul McGinley, 146 (73-73), and Philip Walton, 148 (75-73).
Keith Nolan put together three solid rounds to tie for 23rd place at the Classic, played at the Verd’ Greens Golf Club in Greenville, S.C.
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Nolan’s 54-hole total of 215 (72-72-71) was one-under, and left him seven shots off Steve Gotsche, who won despite the bad weather that caused the final 18 holes to be abandoned. Nolan earned $1,808.
U.S. Open exemptions
Darren Clarke was one of 64 golfers named as fully exempt for this year’s U.S. Open, which will be held June 17-20 at Pinehurst in North Carolina. Clarke gets in by virtue of having finished among the top 15 money leaders on the 1998 European Tour.