Last week saw another chapter written in Padraig Harrington’s escalating saga of how not to win golf tournaments. Truth be told, the only reason Harrington was in contention to win the Smurfit European Open at the K Club in County Kildare on Sunday was due to eventual winner Michael Campbell’s series of miscues on the back nine.
The New Zealander was just one stroke up on both Harrington and Paul Lawrie after 54 holes, but increased the advantage to five with four holes to play. Harrington then birdied 15, while Campbell bogeyed the hole, whittling the lead to three. Campbell then bogeyed 16, on which Harrington found water on his approach to the island green. Despite a penalty stroke for his drop, Harrington salvaged par to draw to within two of Campbell.
The 17th hole found Campbell racking up another bogey, but Harrington flubbed a three-foot putt for par and the lead held as the rivals headed for 18. Campbell tried to hand the tournament to the crowd’s favorite with an approach that landed in water. Smelling victory, Harrington went for the pin, but pulled his shot left, where it joined Campbell’s ball. Campbell then two-putted to end matters with a one-stroke victory over a foursome at 283 that included Harrington (72-69-69-73), Lawrie, Bradley Dredge and Retief Goosen.
Darren Clarke, the defending champion, was stymied by a poor third round, in which he carded 76. He finished tied for 20th place at 287 (74-70-76-67). Included among a group of nine that shared 30th place at 289 were Eamonn Darcy (75-72-73-69) and Gary Murphy (72-73-74-70). John Dwyer tied for 70th place at 299 (69-75-77-78).
The cut was established at 147, which was too low for Gr’me McDowell, 148 (75-73), Philip Walton, 150 (74-76), Michael Hoey, 150 (75-75), Paul McGinley, 150 (77-73), John Dignam, 151 (76-75), Des Smyth, 158 (79-79), and David Walker, 161 (81-80).
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Poor putting on the front nine plagued Christy O’Connor, Jr. over the final two rounds, forcing him to settle for a second-place tie in the Wales Seniors Open at Royal St. David’s Golf Club, a par-69 layout. O’Connor completed 54 holes in 206 (67-73-66). Seiji Ebihara’s 203 took the trophy.
Scattered down the leaderboard were Eddie Polland, tied for ninth place at 210 (72-66-72), David Jones, tied for 23rd place at 214 (75-70-69), Joe McDermott, tied for 35th place at 216 (71-73-72), Liam Higgins, tied for 38th place at 217 (73-75-69), Denis O’Sullivan, 50th place at 220 (75-72-73), and Paul Leonard, tied for 57th place at 223 (77-73-73).
Keith Nolan made the cut in the Hershey Open and finished in 61st place with a 72-hole total of 290 (69-73-76-72). He earned $1,254. The cut was set at 144, which proved too low for Richard Coughlan, 147 (75-72), and John Kernohan, 154 (77-77). Cliff Kresge won the playoff, which resulted when four golfers finished regulation with scores of 276 at the Country Club of Hershey’s East Course in central Pennsylvania.
Eamonn Brady tied for 18th place in the Owston Hall Challenge, which was played at Owston Hall in Doncaster, England. Brady shot 214 (72-69-73) for 54 holes. The cut fell at 147, which eliminated Gary Cullen, 151 (75-76), and Jason Law, 157 (75-82). Richard McEvoy was the medalist at 204.
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P.J. Cowan tied for 63rd place in the Canon U.S.A. Classic, played at Ballantr’ Golf & Yacht Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Cowan, at 147 (74-73), finished 11 strokes behind Steve Hart, the winner at 136. Cowan earned $737 in the tournament, which was shortened from 54 to 36 holes because of rain.