• Victory is his first in Europe since 2008 Open Championship
• Defending champion Andy Sullivan finishes second
PORTUGAL MASTERS | PADRAIG HARRINGTON
Padraig Harrington claimed his first European Tour title in eight years as he held off the challenge of defending champion Andy Sullivan on a dramatic final day at the Portugal Masters.
Harrington, whose last victory on European soil came in the 2008 Open Championship, showed all his experience under pressure with a closing bogey-free 65 to finish on 23-under.
That was one shot better than Sullivan, who also closed his week at Victoria Clube de Golfe with a 65, and two better than the semi-retired Anders Hansen and Finn Mikko Korhonen, who secured his playing privileges after starting the week 116th in the Race to Dubai.
"It's a big win, the Portugal Masters is a big tournament" - Padraig Harrington
Harrington’s victory took his European Tour tally to 15 and moved him alongside Thomas Bjorn at 15th on the all-time list.
“I haven’t won yet this year, and I knew the year was nearly done, so it’s always important to get a win every year,” said the Irishman. “It’s a big win, the Portugal Masters is a big tournament. I’ve been coming here for ten years, so I’ve always liked it down here.
“I tried to be really aggressive. The golf course suited me and I just tried to go after every pin I could, and make birdies. I have a pretty good short game, that was on form this week. No matter where I hit it, I felt like I could get it up and down.”
"I just couldn't get anything to drop on the back nine" - Andy Sullivan
Ryder Cup star Sullivan, meanwhile, was left to rue a cold putter, as his title defence faltered coming down the stretch.
“I just couldn’t get anything to drop on the back nine,” said the Nuneaton man. “It was frustrating, I gave myself so many chances but it wasn’t my day on the greens. But I’m still massively proud of the way I’ve come out here and tried to defend my title.
"The fans were great. Unfortunately, I couldn’t deliver another win but fair play to Paddy, he played great, and there are a lot of positives to take from the week. I can’t wait to get struck into the Final Series and finish the season well.”
Padraig Harrington: Did you know...
Padraig Harrington's Portugal Masters the sixth victory by a player aged 40 or over to win on the European Tour this season. The others came courtesy of Scott Hend (43), Henrik Stenson (40, two wins), Thongchai Jaidee (46), Anthony Wall (41). It was also the 50th victory by a golfer from the Republic of Ireland in European Tour history.