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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 May 2007, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Harrington claims Irish Open win
Padraig Harrington
Harrington led throughout the final round
FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD
GB and Ire unless stated
-5 P Harrington, B Dredge
-1 S Wakefield
Level R Green (Aus), L Oosthuizen, A Romero (Arg)
Selected others:
+2 R Jacquelin (Fra)
+5 D McGrane
+6 L Westwood

Padraig Harrington became the first home winner of the Irish Open in 25 years after defeating Bradley Dredge in a sudden-death play-off at Adare Manor.

Harrington came to the 71st hole with a two-shot lead but saw that go when he carded a bogey and Dredge birdied it.

Both men then parred the par-five last to finish on five under.

With nerves jangling, both pushed their drives right but Dredge compounded the error with a poor third and Harrington was able to seal the win with a par.

606: DEBATE

Harrington took a three-shot lead into the final round and, watched by John O'Leary - the last Irishman to win the title in 1982 - started nervously when he hit a poor chip to bogey the second, but bounced back with a birdie on the next.

Another bogey on the fifth after a poor drive saw his lead down to a single shot as England's Simon Wakefield, playing in the group in front, birdied the seventh.

But roared on by a large home support, Harrington's revival began with birdies at the seventh and eighth and was capped by a superb eagle on the par-five ninth - holing from 10 feet - to move to seven under par.

I feel sorry for Bradley but I'm sure there are plenty of wins ahead for him

Padraig Harrington

Harrington admitted the passionate home fans had been both a help and a hindrance during a tense final round.

"I found it difficult today, no question about it," he said. "All the way through I was more nervous there then I had been in many a tournament and I had to work very hard to stay focused and stay calm.

"But the atmosphere was great, they were absolutely fantastic. I bogeyed the second hole and the applause I got going to the third tee really gave me a boost, gave me a lift, and I went and birdied that one."

"I'm starting to get emotional. Throughout the day I had to keep on a level keel and it is only now it is starting to hit home.

Harrington's lead was halved when he three-putted the 11th for bogey and Dredge birdied the 12th after recovering from a greenside bunker.

However, Dredge then pulled his tee shot on the next into the trees and bogeyed after chipping out sideways, while Harrington saved par after charging his birdie putt six feet past.

At six under par the world number 12 was three clear of Dredge with five holes to play.

Bradley Dredge
Dredge found the river bank on the play-off decider

Dredge fought back and chipped in from 20 feet on the 14th for birdie, and then holed from 30 feet on the 15th to reduce his deficit to just one shot.

Harrington paid tribute to his opponent after his spirited fight-back.

He added: "He played great. He kept coming at me and kept making birdies and his birdie at the 17th was a body-blow and then I was just trying to keep a level head, which is difficult coming down 18 as it is a terribly tough tee shot.

"I feel sorry for Bradley but I'm sure there are plenty of wins ahead for him."

Dredge looked to have let Harrington off the hook when he three-putted the 16th after an overly-cautious tee shot, but a superb approach to three feet for birdie on the 17th, coupled with Harrington's bogey five brought the two all square playing the last.

Both players made par fives to enforce the sudden-death play-off where the two followed each other into the right rough off the tee and then perilously close to the river with their second.

Welshman Dredge managed to hack out of the river bank by only a few yards and then chip to within five feet of the pin.

But Harrington got up and down from 28 feet to secure an emotional victory.

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