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  Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
Harrington defiant after near-miss
Padraig Harrington's closing bogey proved very costly
Padraig Harrington drives off the first on Sunday
Padraig Harrington remains convinced he has the game to win a major despite his failure to win the Open at Muirfield.

The Irishman was the "nearly man" once again as he bogeyed the 18th hole which left him one shot away from the four-man play-off.

But Harrington - who has finished as runner-up on 16 occasions on the European Tour - refused to feel disappointed after his 67 saw him finish on five-under.

"You only get disappointed when you don't have the answers, and I have the answers," insisted Harrington.

"It is only when you don't have the answers that you walk off the golf course with despair at what happened.


At 18 I felt I had to hit a driver and wedge stone dead to win
Padraig Harrington

"But I can walk away from this with confidence rather than the other way around.

"I have all the answers and if I can put them together I'll be okay.

"It is a full package you need to win a major, I just didn't have the putting this week but I felt very comfortable out there and I don't think I need anything else."

Harrington was satisfied with his game but blamed his putting as the reason for his failure to finally claim a major.

"I felt very comfortable all day and hit it well within myself, but I putted very poorly this week.

Darren Clarke finished in joint 37th position
Clarke couldn't build on a good start

"I changed putters during the tournament but I kept mis-hitting putts and it cost me dearly.

"I three-putted on four occasions this week and you cannot afford to give away four shots like that," he added.

Harrington was on six under standing on the 18th tee but felt he needed a birdie to challenge Ernie Els, who was leading at that point on seven under.

Ironically, the South African stumbled and six under would have been good enough to have earned Harrington a place in a four-way play-off.

Harrington drove into a bunker and had to play-out backwards, which ultimately cost him a shot, and he finished the Open joint fifth.

"At 18 I felt like I had to hit a driver and wedge stone dead to win," he said.

"I was never going to hit three-iron, five-iron into the middle of the green and try to hole a putt from 20 feet.

Smyth's last Open?

"But I got distracted on the tee because I looked up twice, and I hit a bad shot," said Harrington.

Des Smyth, trying to become the oldest-ever winner of a major at the age of 49, shot a somewhat disappointing final round 73 which left him on level par and joint 28th.

But how he had enjoyed the week in possibly his last Open.

Smyth parred his opening eight holes and then moved to three under by picking up a birdie at the long ninth.

However, the veteran dropped a shot at the 12th and further bogeys followed at the 15th and the final hole.

Darren Clarke had briefly threatened to charge up the leaderboard after three birdies in his first five holes but had to settle for a 69 to finish one over and in joint 37th place.

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