Magnificent Harrington retains Open title

Published 20/07/2008 18:22:58

A rock-solid round of 69 was enough for Irishman Padraig Harrington to retain the Open title he won last year. Harrington looked calm throughout, highlight of the round being a magnificent eagle on the 17th. Third round leader Greg Norman looked out of sorts, starting off with three straight bogies. However the Australian had little to prove, and can be immensely proud of his efforts, carding a final round 77 to finish tied third with Henrik Stenson on 9 over..


Harrington said: "In hindsight, the fact that I didn't have to play three practise rounds meant I was fresh", "I knew my game was there, maybe this week I made the right decision at the right time and got the right breaks at the right time"


"Once I'd got my tee shot away at the 18th, I knew I'd won it", "I'm looking forward to putting that jug right back where it was last year, it'll be nice to have the trophy sitting back on the breakfast table"


Harrington looked confident and unperturbed by the pressure of being defending champion, seemingly playing better as the day went on. There had been doubts going into the tournament over his fitness and if he would even compete at all. Playing partner Norman retained his trademark aggression but made some poor club selection and never really recovered from some poor shots early on.


England's Ian Poulter did his Ryder Cup chances no harm with a 69 to finish on 7 over for the championship. Poulter put some late pressure on Harrington but the Irishman seemed to go into another gear when he felt Poulter breathing down his neck. Korean KJ Choi finished a disappointing round with an 8 at the 18th, 79 overall.


Silver medal for best amateur went to Englishman Chris Wood who hit a final round of 72, narrowly taking the title two shots ahead of Thomas Sherreard who finished on 14 over. Wood finished tied for fifth with American Jim Furyk.


In retaining the title, Harrington joins an elite band of players who have kept the claret jug:  Tiger Woods (2005 and 2006). Tom Watson(1982 and 1983), Lee Trevino (1971 and 1972), Arnold Palmer (1961 and 1962) and Peter Thomson in 1953, 1955 and 1956.


Shot of the tournament

Harrington's magnificent second shot at the 17th - name on trophy. No ladybirds this year, though.


Story of the tournament

The brilliant resurgence of veteran Greg Norman - he'd only played a handful of rounds this year and goes to the seniors tour next week.


Biggest disappointment

The limp display by Spaniard Sergio Garcia, though he was in good company as a host of hotly tipped players wobbled in the wind.




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