Padraig Harrington triumphs at Hoag Classic, wins PGA Tour Champions event on 72nd hole

Padraig Harrington found a way.

Despite not having his best stuff during the final round of the Hoag Classic, the Irishman played well enough to give himself a chance at victory on the final hole.

And he took full advantage of the opportunity.

The Dubliner drained an 8-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole, a par-5, which elicited a massive fist-pump. The make gave Harrington his seventh career victory on the PGA Tour Champions.

“This is the great thing about the Champions Tour. It allows us to relive our past glories,” the Irishman said.

“We get to hit shots where we feel anxious, we feel nervous, we feel excited. And it doesn’t change, when you’ve got a putt to win or a shot to win, you don’t want to mess up in front of people.”

But things looked dire for Harrington after his double bogey on the 16th hole.

Sitting on a one-shot lead, the Irishman snap-hooked his drive, punched out, hit his third into the bunker, and failed to get up and down for bogey.

Like that, Harrington went from having the lead to trailing Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee by a shot with two holes to play.

“I never make it easy; don’t do it simple,” Harrington joked afterward. “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.”

But he did not get down on himself. The Dubliner hit a nice approach into the par-3 17th and gave himself an outside chance at a birdie from 20 feet. He drained it and walked to the 18th tee with a piece of the lead at 13-under.

Jimenez, meanwhile, bogeyed the 17th, and thus, Harrington and Jaidee were deadlocked on the final hole.

The Irishman hit his tee shot way right on the 18th, perhaps compensating for his big miss left two holes prior. But it did not affect him too much. He managed to get his second shot up into the greenside bunker and got up and down from there.

“I knew I could finish birdie-eagle if I had to. I was very focused and just took it on,” Harrington said.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Jaidee also missed the fairway, but he made a mess of things up on the green. After hitting his second short of the green, the 54-year-old Thai hit his third over the green and struggled to make par from there.

That opened the door for Harrington, who holed the winning birdie putt for the win.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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