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Padraig Harrington shoots back-nine 28 to win DICK'S Sporting Goods Open

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Padraig Harrington shoots back-nine 28 to win DICK'S Sporting Goods Open

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    Padraig Harrington fired a back-nine, 7-under 28 to zoom past the leaders and defend his title at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open on Sunday at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York.

    The Irishman birdied Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15, eagled 16 and birdied 17. It all led him to an 18-under finish, one stroke ahead of Joe Durant.

    “I played really nicely for the first 12 holes. Three three-putts. You know, you can't three-putt when you're chasing like that,” Harrington said. “And then on 11 I got in trouble and made a great up-and-down. It was amazing, it was a bad hole that kicked that, kind of gave me, oh, that was OK. I got up-and-down from 31 yards out of a bunker, holed an 8-footer, and it kind of -- it went from feeling like everything was going against you, to, oh, that's not so bad. Obviously I wasn't thinking about winning at that stage; I was thinking about just trying to make as many birdies (as possible).

    “When I started making them, yeah, then I started thinking about it when I got, I suppose, three or four of them. But it was a bonus obviously to make eagle.”

    None of the second-round leaders kept pace on Sunday. Entering the day at 12 under, Ernie Els came the closest. He needed a birdie on 18 to tie Harrington, but he bogeyed to finish alone in third at 16 under after a 68.

    It was a great day for scoring in upstate New York; 12 players shot 67 or better, including Harrington, who finished with a 9-under 63, and Durant, who shot 66.

    It was Harrington’s first win of 2023, and he became the first player to defend at En-Joie. He’s hoping to do the same next week, at the U.S. Senior Open.

    Padraig Harrington's sixth-straight scoring hole on No. 17 at DICK'S

    The other co-leaders with Els, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Brett Quigley, fell by the wayside. Quigley managed a 2-under 70 to tie for fifth; Jimenez shot 72 and finished alone in eighth.

    Harrington tied Durant for the lead with an eagle at the par-4 16th. Playing 293 yards from the tee, Harrington hit a 3-wood about 16 feet left of the cup. The putt snuck in the right edge. The birdie at 17 gave him the lead for good.

    “It was nice; pushing up the tee on 16 helped, just made it a perfect 3-wood whereas every other day you're kind of between driver, 3-wood,” Harrington said. “First day I went with 3-wood when I was making all those bad decisions. Today, it was a perfect 3-wood. That was a nice bonus.

    “And when I had about a 6-footer on 17, it's amazing when you're holing putts. I could have closed my eyes, turned my back and I would have holed the putt on 17. It's amazing; when they're going in, you can't see a way of missing. When they're not going in, as they were on the front nine, I couldn't see a way of getting them in.”

    Els also drove the 16th green with a 3-wood, but he was almost 50 feet right of the hole. His eagle putt rolled just past the cup, and the resulting birdie was his only one on the back nine.

    The three co-leaders entering Sunday and Vijay Singh, who tied for 10th, were the only players among the top 11 who didn’t shoot 67 or better.

    “There's less stress when you're chasing,” Harrington said. “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. If he has a good day, he has a good day.

    “It's easier to chase, but I'd much prefer to be leading, there's no doubt about it.”

    Padraig Harrington cards eagle after driving the green at DICK'S

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