Sunday, August 10, 2008
Crucial late round putting gave Padraig Harrington his second major trophy in as many starts. His victory in the 90th PGA Championship placed him halfway to the coveted "Paddy Slam". Harrington's second consecutive 66 gave him a two shot victory over a game Sergio Garcia and early 4th round leader Ben Curtis. Harrington became the 1st European winner of the PGA since Tommy Armour in 1930. Camilo Villegas finished strong and tied for 4th with a faltering Henrik Stenson. Steve Flesch's 69 gave him solo 6th. Phil Mickelson wilted to a tie for 7th with Andres Romero. Only 3 players finished under par at the notoriously tough Oakland Hills. Harrington at -3 and Garcia and Curtis at -1.
It was a three way battle most of the day in cool and blustery conditions. Garcia had the lead at the turn with Curtis and Harrington in close pursuit. With Garcia's water logged bogey on the 16th hole, Harrington nailed his birdie putt to start a streak of three straight pressure putts that ultimately sealed it for him. A birdie on the par three 17th gave him the lead when Garcia missed from about 4 feet. A cool, calm 15 footer on 18 cemented his win. Curtis hung around on the back nine , but never found the crucial birdie needed to share the lead. Strangely Harrington, in the view from the TV camera, appeared not to blink , even once, on the back nine. That steely determination is precisely what been lacking from competitors in the Tiger era. Maybe a challenge has been raised for next April in Augusta. Padraig will enter that tournament with a two major winning streak. Stay tuned.
Congratulations on hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy Padraig. He's now won 3 of the last 6 majors. I'll go out on a limb and predict the pints will be flowing in Dublin tonight.