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Rediff.com  » Sports » Harrington upsets Tiger Woods

Harrington upsets Tiger Woods

November 19, 2006 18:34 IST

Ireland's Padraig Harrington upset Tiger Woods to win the Dunlop Phoenix tournament after an astonishing birdie on the second playoff hole on Sunday.

Harrington, the 2006 European Order of Merit winner, courageously blasted his second shot through a perilously narrow gap in a Y-shaped tree after hooking his tee shot left.

His ball caught the base of the gap and ricocheted upwards, advancing the Irishman 120 yards. Harrington then produced a superb pitch to within two feet to set up an easy birdie.

Woods, who was bidding from a third straight title in Miyazaki, missed a 12-foot birdie putt and Harrington completed a simple tap-in to win the $1.7 million tournament.

"When you come up against Tiger you've got to take whatever opportunities are presented," Harrington said of his risky second through the split trunks of the tree.

"I saw it as a great chance of hitting a spectacular shot to win the playoff and it came off.

"I definitely got lucky but sometimes fortune favours the brave."

World number one Woods began the final round tied with Harrington for the lead but the American looked to be cruising to his 10th victory of the year after three early birdies.

However, the momentum shifted suddenly when Harrington holed a long birdie putt on the par-four 16th and then Woods amazingly missed a three-foot par putt to leave them level.

Both men holed parred 17 and sank short birdie putts on the 18th to card rounds of three-under-par 67 and finish at nine-under 271.

DAUNTING RECORD

After matching birdies on the last at the first playoff hole, the players returned to the 18th where Harrington went for broke after a poor tee shot to triumph against the odds.

Woods had a daunting 38-3 record going into the final round of tournaments with at least a share of the lead and also a 14-1 playoff record in official events.

However, the 12-times major winner could not shake off a determined Harrington despite leading by two strokes with three holes of regulation left.

"The great thing about stats is that they've got to fall sometimes," Harrington said after claiming his second victory of the year and avoiding a 31st career runner-up finish.

"Sooner or later a stat like that is going to break so just be there to be the one to break it."

Woods was left to rue his costly missed putt on 16.

"I had my opportunities today," he said. "I had a two-shot lead with three to go and missed a short one there at 16.

"If I made that putt it forced Paddy (Harrington) to have to birdie one of the last two holes to get into a playoff. It was a poor putt. It probably cost me the tournament."

Japan's Keiichiro Fukabori crept under the radar to claim third on eight under after the day's best round of 64 had given him the clubhouse lead until Woods and Harrington birdied 18.

Justin Rose shot a fine 66 to finish tied for fourth on six under with Japan's Shingo Katayama, who closed with a 68.

Source:
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