Harrington Czechs in with return to form

by Stephen Findlater
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Padraig Harrington finished up second place at the Czech Masters last weekend as the Stackstown man enjoyed an excellent tournament in Prague, playing out a great battle with Andrea Pavan.

“It was a good contest, no doubt about it,” Harrington said of his second place. It was a thrilling battle between the two playing partners, who shared a three-shot lead heading into the final day at Albatross Golf Resort, and Harrington appeared to be cruising to a 16th title when they reached the turn.

The Dubliner was three shots clear but Pavan turned the tide with a stunning back nine performance. The 29 year old picked up shots at the tenth and 12th holes to close the gap before Harrington almost holed out from the tee at the par three 13th, a birdie two seemingly closing the door on Pavan.

But a birdie from Pavan at the 14th paired with a bogey for Harrington at the 15th meant they were all square with three to play.

The crucial moment came at the 16th as the Italian sank a 30-foot putt for a birdie two and the outright lead. Another birdie at the 17th meant he held a two-stroke advantage on the 18th tee, parring the last for a five under 67 and a two-stroke victory on a 22 under total.

“I obviously don’t feel like I lost it,” Harrington said. “Andrea won it for sure. He played great coming home and holed the decisive putts. I get my fair share of wins but it wasn’t my day today.

“To shoot 20 under par on any golf course, you’ve got to put some numbers together so I’m happy with that, Andrea just finished really well. He played lovely golf all day to be honest and made those birdies. It’s a pity but I’ll settle for this most weeks.

“I’ll give myself plenty of chances to win and I know it’s a numbers game, some weeks it will be my turn for the putts to drop and hit the right shots at the right time.”

“I play well on this style of golf course, with flier lies and on these types of greens I can get up and down a lot. It frees me up so I can go for plenty of pins and make birdies. I know I can get up and down from most of the lies. It’s very similar to where I won the Portugal Masters, the right type of golf course for me.

“I don’t feel I have an issue playing against these younger guys, I feel I can certainly keep up with them and I have some good things in my own game. Even from a week like this, you learn more when you get in contention.

“I’m seeing things about my game that I can improve and work on. I’m in a nice place, I just have to keep doing the good stuff and hopefully there’ll be more tournaments like this ahead.”

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