PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON delivered the European Ryder Cup team a timely boost in producing an impressive eight under par 64 on the final day of the Vivendi Cup in Chambourcy.
The triple Major champion got to within three strokes of the leader in holing a six foot putt in the last and coming from 10 shots back at the start of the round to record a 13-under par tally under a “preferred lie” rule on the Marly Course at Golf de Joyevnal.
England’s John Parry – a team-mate of Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup – became the third rookie to win on this season’s European Tour.
A Challenge Tour graduate like Rhys Davies and John Morrison, the 23-year-old from Harrogate won by two shots from Swede Johan Edfors. Parry, 116th on the money list entering the event, with the top 115 keeping their cards at the end of the year, fired a closing 70 to take the €200,000 top prize with a 17-under-par total of 271.
He had not finished higher than ninth in any previous tournament – and in Austria last week he held the halfway lead and then fell away to 20th.
Harrington’s last day effort was his best final round since a closing day 64 to finish runner-up behind Ryder Cup colleague Ross Fisher at the Irish Open.
Harrington had no hope of ending a more than two-year winless drought but his showing in chilly conditions in the French countryside will warm his Ryder Cup captain and 11 European team members.
His Parisian week was all about restoring some lost gloss and retaining that shine ahead of this week’s showcase examination in Wales.
“The week before a big event is all about seeing where your game is at and seeing what work needs to be done,” he said.
“I struggled with my putting early on in the week but today it was quite sharp but I definitely don’t have as much to do now on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
Harrington was heading straight for Charles de Gaulle airport and a flight to London and then onto Cardiff where he’ll find awaiting him in his Celtic Manor resort room clothing attire for a sixth Ryder Cup.
But while Colin Montgomerie will be delighted with Harrington’s welcome return to form, Harrington’s more pleased with the support he’s received on his way to Wales.
“The best thing about being here this week has been the players because you can’t believe how many players from the rank-and-file European Tour have come up to me to wish the team well, and how much it means to them that we win the Ryder Cup,” he said.
“Absolutely, that has been the best part of coming here to France. The passion of the players for Europe to win back the Ryder Cup has definitely been one of the biggest advantages of me being here this week.
“There’s guys that I wouldn’t necessarily know and guys I hardly know, all coming up to me not only wishing me luck but wishing the team luck.
“There won’t be a European Tour anywhere this week watching every single shot as there are just so many people behind the European cause.”
And having been given a wildcard pick and then having added the French event to his schedule, Harrington left France declaring he had no point to prove to those critical of his selection.
“No, no because at the end of the day it is impossible to prove any point like that as everybody is going to have their own opinion,” said Harrington.
“Most people are committed to their own opinion so there is no point in me trying to prove people right.
“I have just got to do my own thing, and play my own game.”
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