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Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Sunday, 1 August 2010 16:56 UK

Ross Fisher holds nerve to win Irish Open

FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD: -18 R Fisher (Eng) -16 P Harrington (Ire) -14 G Fernandez-Castano (Spn), C Wood (Eng) -13 R Bland (Eng), R Green (Aus) Selected others: -11 M Hoey (NI) -10 F Molinari (Ita) -8 D Clarke (NI) -7 P McGinley (Ire) -3 G McDowell (NI) -2 R McIlroy (NI) -1 J Rose (Eng)

Ross Fisher
Fisher landed his fourth European Tour title in County Kerry

England's Ross Fisher won the Irish Open by two shots to give his Ryder Cup selection hopes a massive boost.

Fisher went into Sunday one shot clear and his 65 was enough to fend off a late surge by Padraig Harrington, who fired a 64 to come second in Killarney.

Victory takes Fisher into one of the automatic qualifying spots for Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England's Chris Wood were another two strokes back in a tie for third.

"I knew it was going to be a tough day, I hung in there and stayed patient," reflected Fisher, who twice shared the lead with Harrington on the final day but responded on both occasions to end with an 18-under 266 total that matched European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie's nine-year-old tournament record.

Harrington, three off the lead after the third round, first joined Fisher at the top when he notched his fourth birdie of a five-strong haul at the eighth, however Fisher restored his advantage when he eagled the par-five seventh.

The Dubliner was in scintillating form, though, and stayed in touch with some exquisite shots - including a memorable up and down from a plugged lie in a bunker at the 12th, which the three-time major winner rated as "one of the best ever for me".

eirevillan the original not the poor copy

And it looked like the 38-year-old might deny Fisher his fourth European Tour title when he eagled the par-five 16th.

Fisher, though, again held his nerve to pick up shots at 15 and 16 before parring his final two holes to claim the £415,973 first prize.

"I could hear the roars and knew Harrington was making a charge," added Fisher. "The putt on the 17th was huge. It was nice to have a two-shot gap going down the last."

Fisher's win sees him jump seven spots up the Ryder Cup points standings and he is now firmly focussed on making Montgomerie's team for October's clash with the United States at Celtic Manor in Wales in October.

"I don't know if I have done enough [to clinch a Ryder Cup debut] yet, but there are two more big weeks coming up and I just want to show Monty I am playing well."

Harrington and Fisher's ascent up the standings has ousted Englishman Ross McGowan, whose missed cut in Killarney was his fourth in a row, out of the automatic selection spots.

Harrington still has some work to do to guarantee himself a spot on Montgomerie's team but, if he misses out on an automatic pick, his performance this week can only have helped his chances of a wildcard selection.

And Harrington expressed satisfaction with his form ahead of the final major of the season - the US PGA Championship, which starts on 12 August at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.

"Overall I had a lot of chances. I've been comfortable with my game for a while, but I just have to trust it a little more," he said. "I should not get so stressed - I just have to let it happen a bit more."

England's Wood, who was tied for second with Francesco Molinari at the start of the final round, ended his tournament with a 68 that featured six birdies and three bogeys.

Italian Molinari's challenge failed to materialise as he shot a 72 that included four bogeys and a double-bogey at six.

England's Richard Bland ended on a high with a 65, and he was joined on 13 under by Australian Richard Green (67).

US Open champion Graeme McDowell (71) was 15 shots off Fisher's winning score, while another Northern Irishman, Rory McIlroy also carded a level par 71 to finish a further shot back.

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see also
Fisher faces fight for Irish Open
31 Jul 10 |  Golf
Fisher misses out on historic 59
30 Jul 10 |  Golf
Rock disqualified from Irish Open
29 Jul 10 |  Golf
Clarke receives US PGA invitation
28 Jul 10 |  Golf
Clarke picked for Ryder Cup role
20 Jul 10 |  Golf
Harrington craves Ryder Cup place
27 Jul 10 |  Golf

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