Harrington focuses for victory in Endicott as Maguire falters in Women’s PGA

Dubliner heads from New York to Wisconsin for the defence of his US Seniors Open in fine form

Is there any better man for getting into the zone and staying there?

Pádraig Harrington used to slip into the zone in his prime where he displayed those scary eyes, and age hasn’t diminished that desire to win as the 51-year-old Dubliner reeled off a phenomenal run of birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-par in his closing seven holes to post a final round 63 for 18-under-par 198 to successfully defend his Dicks Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, New York.

In truth, given all that he has done in his stellar career, Harrington’s remarkable finish to pip Joe Durant by one stroke was a finish for the ages in claiming a fifth win on the Champions Tour and perfectly timed given he moves on to the defence of his US Seniors Open title this week.

After securing a hat-trick of birdies on the 14th, Harrington’s thoughts turned to winning. “I kind of said, ‘How many am I behind?’ I started looking at the leader board. Normally I don’t look but I was really consciously looking to see. Like, ‘Okay, what do I need to do?’ I knew I needed to keep pressing,” recalled Harrington, who could do no wrong coming home. “It’s amazing, when they’re going in, you can’t see a way of missing.”


As Harrington put it of his mindset down the stretch, “there’s less pressure when you’re chasing because nobody sees you if you lose. The leader is putting himself out there and if he doesn’t win, he’s going to finish up on Sunday and he’s going to lament the mistakes that he made or the chances he missed even if he didn’t make mistakes, whereas the guy chasing has a free run.”

And while Durant was left lamenting, Harrington was the one left celebrating. After a spell of events on the main PGA Tour – which included a top-30 finish in the US Open – Harrington brought that form to the seniors circuit and is looking forward to a strong second half of the season.

Looking back to how his win in the Dicks Sporting Goods Open a year ago sparked a phenomenal run, Harrington said: “I don’t like superstitions or anything like that, but it took me half a year to get going last year and I won this week . . . so second half of the year I’m here for a run.” Harrington, who earned $315,000 for his win, heads from New York to Wisconsin for the defence of his US Seniors Open in good fettle.

Unfortunately for Leona Maguire, the 54-hole leader in the weather-disrupted KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the second Major of the LPGA Tour season, it proved to be a hugely disappointing final round at Baltusrol in New Jersey as the Cavan golfer’s quest for a breakthrough Major win fizzled out and she finished with a 74 for 280, ultimately in tied-11th position.

China’s Ruoning Yin closed with a final round 67 for an eight-under-par total of 276 to win by one stroke from Japan’s Yuka Saso. It marked the 20-year-old’s first win on the LPGA Tour and only the second Major by a Chinese golfer.

Stephanie Meadow, however, produced her best performance of the season. The Northern Irishwoman stuck gamely to her task and narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 18th as she signed for a closing 70 for 278 which gave her a share of third place.

Both Maguire and Meadow have a week off before resuming action in next week’s Women’s US Open at Pebble Beach.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times