Padraig Harrington wins Portuguese Masters

Padraig Harrington ended an eight-year wait for success on the European Tour with a one-shot victory in the Portugal Masters.

The three-time major champion picked up four birdies on the back nine and got up and down for par on the last to card a final round of 65 for a 23-under total that beat defending champion Andy Sullivan by a single stroke.

The Irishman began the day one shot off the lead held by Danish veteran Anders Hansen and Mikko Korhonen of Finland, and birdies on the second and seventh holes kept him in the mix as Sullivan, who started the day one shot further back, surged into the lead with four birdies in five holes.

But Harrington, without a European Tour victory since his 2008 US PGA Championship triumph, caught fire on the way home, chipping in for birdie on the 11th and picking up further strokes on the 12th and 14th.

He then hit the front with a four on the par-five 17th, being rewarded for taking on the green over the water with his second shot.

With Sullivan safely in the clubhouse, Harrington needed par on the last to secure the win and the 45-year-old kept things interesting by slamming his approach into the grandstand behind the green.

The ball rebounded far enough to give Harrington a decent lie for his chip, which he ran five feet past the hole, but the Dubliner held his nerve to find the bottom of the cup and spark “Olé” chants from the galleries.

The win is Harrington’s 15th on the European Tour. His last win on the PGA Tour came at the Honda Classic in March last year.

“I haven’t won yet this year, so I know the year is nearly done, it’s always important to get a win every year, a winning year,” he told the European Tour site.

“It’s a big win. Portugal Masters is a big tournament. I’ve been coming here for 10 years so I’ve always liked it down here. I’ve always liked coming down to Portugal.

“I tried to be really aggressive. The golf course suited me and I just tried to go after every pin I could and make birdies. I have a pretty good short game that was on form this week.”

There was also cause for celebration for Paul Dunne, after the Greystones man retained his playing privileges for next season.

Dunne missed the cut in Vilamoura and thus had a nervous wait to see if he would secure a Tour card for 2017, but despite dropping several places in the Race to Dubai rankings over the weekend, he remained inside the top 111 cut-off at 107th.

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