Padraig Harrington blew out the rest of the field at the TimberTech Championship to win by seven shots.
Harrington fired off a final round 64 to earn his second win in 2023 and sixth career Champions Tour event.
“It was important to win from being in front,” Harrington said. “We like to keep the idea that if we get a lead, we can handle the pressure, so it was very important to me.”
The 52-year-old birdied six of his first seven holes to start the day. He may have recorded a bogey at the par-4 9th, but that putt ended up being a huge moment for him.
“Bernhard [Langer] came back at me. Holing that putt at nine was massive for me,” Harrington said. “It could have been a three-shot swing — kind of batten down the hatches for a few holes after that, and then the last few were a little easier.”
On the week, Harrington made 13 birdies on the front nine compared to the seven he made on the back.
He found his groove early, and it paid off for him.
“The first couple of holes have been nice to me all week, so I made plenty of birdies. I struggled in the middle of the round every day, so it was nice to get that start,” Harrington said. “I tried to keep riding it.”
His hot start on Sunday got him thinking a little ahead of himself, though.
“Number eight — I nearly holed for birdie to go 7-under,” he said. “I was working it out in my head. I said, ‘It’s a par 71, I only need to make 12, and that would be a 59.’ How hard is it to shoot 59? Like I just hit a wall there.”
After that start, his putter went cold as he settled for par on holes 10-13. The Irishman heated back up to add two more birdies at the par-3 14th and par-5 16th.
Harrington then sank a birdie on 18th to secure his runaway win.
As someone who continues to compete on the PGA Tour, Harrington understands it’s hard to juggle both circuits.
“I’m nervous, but it’s a different kind of nervous than when you’re playing regular events,” he said. “When you’re playing regular events, you can’t take body blows. If you make a bogey, you have no chance.”
These Champions Tour events allow him to compete, but it’s nothing like the PGA Tour. It can be ruthless for the older players as they try to keep up with these young guys.
“I don’t know why I go back, to be honest,” Harrington said with a chuckle.
The six-time PGA Tour winner defended his DICK’S Sporting Goods Open title earlier this year. Now he will look to defend another title next week at the Charles Schwab Championship.
Harrington didn’t win the Charles Schwab Cup last year but did win the 2022 season finale.
After this victory, the former two-time Open Champion is projected to jump from No. 9 to No. 3 in the Charles Schwab Cup rankings. He sits behind Steve Stricker and Langer, respectively. However, running down Stricker is impossible as he already secured the Charles Schwab Cup title for 2023 with six victories.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.