Padraig Harrington wasn’t the only winner at the conclusion of the $2.2 million Portugal Masters. Finland’s Mikko Korhonen and Oliver Fisher of England emerged victorious, too.
Harrington earned his 15th win of his European Tour career, and first since the 2008 PGA Championship. His 23-under-par 261 after scores of 66, 63, 67 and 65 gave him a one-shot win over defending champion Andy Sullivan. The Irishman earned a check for just over $360,000.
Anders Hansen and Korhonen finished joint third to earn just over $122,000 each. Fisher placed equal 10th and earned just under $42,000. Korhonen and Fisher needed the money far more than part-timer Hansen.
It’s hard to believe Harrington had gone eight winless seasons on the European Tour until this week. He seemed set to win tournaments in bundles when he captured that 2008 PGA Championship, his third major in the space of 14 months to go with the 2007 and 2008 Open Championships. Then he went AWOL.
He was back to his winning best in Portugal.
“A lot of good things went for me this week,” Harrington said. “I had a good change of attitude at the start of the week.
“I was in a good place all week mentally. I was very relaxed, very comfortable no matter what the outcome. I knew I would get an opportunity at some stage. In every last round I’ve ever played, there is a pivotal point and if you take it obviously you’re favorite.”
That pivotal point came at the 11th when he holed a greenside bunker shot for birdie, one of six he made on the day with no dropped shots.
“Obviously holing the bunker shot on 11 was a huge plus,” he admitted.
Harrington had intended to head back to the United States and the PGA Tour after Portugal. The win changed his plans.
He began the tournament 96th on the European money list. He moves to 43rd and is now eligible for the lucrative Final Series. Those events could help him earn a place in next year’s Masters.
“Probably the biggest priority for me now is to figure a way of qualifying for the Masters,” he said.
Harrington began the week ranked 159th on the official world ranking. The top 50 qualify automatically for Augusta, so it’s in his interest to play the European Tour’s $22 million Final Series – the Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and DP World Championship, Dubai.
Korhonen and Fisher don’t qualify for the Final Series, but they won’t care too much. They’ll be happy to have full cards on next year’s European Tour. Fisher began the week 114th on the money list, while Korhonen was 116th. Only the top 111 get cards for next year. They moved inside that mark.
Korhonen moves to 86th while Fisher climbs to 100th. They will leave Portugal feeling almost as happy as Harrington.