Padraig Harrington wins TimberTech Championship by seven shots
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Written by Staff @PGATOUR
The answer for Padraig Harrington was two events.
After taking time away from PGA TOUR Champions to play on the DP World Tour this summer, he wondered aloud how long it would take for him to readjust to the pace of the Champions Tour upon his return.
“Out here, you’ve got to make a lot of birdies,” Harrington said before his return at the SAS Championship on Oct. 13. “On the regular tours, there’s a drop-off of those birdies. Instead of six or seven, I’m down to making three birdies a round. I know when I first came out to Champions, that pace … It’s quite a sprint. If you’re not 4 or 5 under after the first round … it’s hard to get to 15 under if you start at level par.”
After tying for 45th at the SAS then tying for seventh at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, Harrington won going away at the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Florida, on Sunday. He started with a 4-under 67, seized a one-stroke lead with a second-round, 5-under 66, and blitzed the field in the final round with a 7-under 64. His winning margin of seven strokes was the largest of the season.
Padraig Harrington wins by seven shots at TimberTech Champ
“It’s important to win from being in front,” Harrington said. “As players we like to keep the idea that when we get a lead, we can handle the pressure.”
It was the sixth win of Harrington’s PGA TOUR Champions career and second in a Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs event. He is the defending champion for next week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the season finale.
Harrington removed any thought of ageless wonder Bernhard Langer winning again in Florida, where he has won 10 times on PGA TOUR Champions. The Irishman, 52, birdied six of the first seven holes to open his advantage over the German to four shots, and he never looked back.
“The first couple of holes have been nice for me all week,” Harrington said. “I made plenty of birdies, struggled in the middle of the round every day. So it was nice to get that start. I tried to keep riding it, to be honest.”
So the drama was left to who would make the field for next week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Only the top 36 on the season-long standings get to tee it up in Phoenix, and Rob Labritz made it on the number by rolling in an 8-footer for bogey on the 18th. He knew it, too, and celebrated with a demonstrative fist pump.
"Man, I've never felt pressure like that in my life," Labritz said afterward. "And that was just for a top-36 overall finish."
Charlie Wi tied Harrington for low round of the day with a 64 of his own, and it moved him from a tie for 20th entering the day into a tie for second with Langer at 9 under. The money proved to be just enough for Wi, who jumped from 54th in the Schwab Cup standings to 35th, earning a trip to the finale.
The top 36 on the Charles Schwab Cup standings also secure fully exempt PGA TOUR Champions status for 2024, if not otherwise exempt via prior PGA TOUR or Champions Tour merit.