Harrington breaks tournament duck

Padraig Harrington won for the first time in over two years today following a comfortable three-stroke victory at the Iskandar Johor Open.

Padraig Harrington won for the first time in over two years today following a comfortable three-stroke victory at the Iskandar Johor Open.

The Dubliner, whose last tournament success came at the 2008 US PGA Championship, started the day with a five-shot lead and victory was never in doubt as he closed with a three-under-par 69 at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

South Korean Noh Seung-yul finished strongly with a superb seven-under 65 to claim second place while Chinese Tapiei’s Lin Wen-tang took third following a 68.

Harrington, who walked away with the US$198,125 winner’s cheque, had played through the pain barrier all day yesterday after tweaking a muscle in his neck. He showed no ill effects from the injury and started with aplomb by reeling off three straight birdies from the second.

The 39-year-old bogeyed the fifth but added further gains on the 11th, 13th and 14th holes and though he dropped two shots in his last three holes it mattered not as he comfortably sealed victory on his debut at the Asian Tour event.

“Two years is a long time, especially when you’re reminded most weeks you play. It’s nice and very important for me to win. It’s somewhat a monkey off your back,” said Harrington.

“Winning is a habit. Every time you win, it is important but when you haven’t won for a while it does add a bit more emphasis to it. It makes it all the more memorable.”

Fresh from helping Europe to Ryder Cup success earlier this month, Harrington had been in fine form throughout the tournament and held at least a share of the lead for the first three rounds.

“There’s no doubt that it was my week to win,” added the three-time major winner. “If you had followed me for the four days, I don’t think anyone would have questioned that my name was written on the trophy before the tournament started.

“I got the breaks all the way through. I hit some good shots and had a few breaks. Luck of the Irish? I’ll accept that.”

Last year’s champion KJ Choi shot a 68 to claim a share of eighth while Colin Montgomerie finished tied 11th after closing with a 69.

The Scot, playing in his second tournament since leading Europe to Ryder Cup success, closed with five birdies against two bogeys.

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