Harrington endures shaky moments, wins Hoag Classic

golf25 March 2024 04:22| © Reuters
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Padraig Harrington © Gallo Images

Irishman Padraig Harrington survived a pair of double bogeys to hold off Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and win the Hoag Classic on Sunday at Newport Beach Country Club in California.

Harrington started the day with a one-shot edge over Jaidee, and both players turned in rounds of 2-under 69, though they got there in wildly different ways.

For Harrington, who finished the three-round tournament at 14-under 199, it was his seventh win on the PGA Tour Champions.

"Yeah, I never make it easy, don't do it simple," Harrington said. "I think one of my best traits in golf is when my back's to the wall, I'm pretty good at taking things on."

After a birdie at No 3, Harrington suffered a double bogey at the par-3 fourth hole. Birdies fell at Nos. 7, 12 and 15 to help him claw back, but he suffered an enormous setback at the difficult par-4 16th.

Harrington's drive went far left into a native area, leaving him to punch out to the fairway. He compounded the mistake when his third shot missed the green and settled in a bunker, leading to his second double bogey.

But Harrington responded with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 to overtake Jaidee, who could only par the two holes. Harrington made a slippery downhill 15-footer at the par-3 17th before his birdie for the win at the par-5 18th rolled around the cup and in.

"Look, I knew I could finish birdie-eagle if I had to," Harrington said. "I was very focused, just take it on. I was a little unlucky. I hit a nice tee shot on 17 and where I finished up, we thought it was a fraction to the right.

"And then obviously I hit a bad tee shot on 18, but the second shot worked out really well where it was. I was never not getting up and down from there. When you're presented with an opportunity, you've got to take it."

Jaidee had his second straight round of 69 by pairing four birdies with two bogeys.

Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain shot a 68 and placed third at 12 under. Canadian Stephen Ames (67) was fourth at 11 under, and Jerry Kelly (67) and South Korea's KJ Choi (68) tied for fifth at 10 under.