Date: May 21, 2007

Green fourth behind Harrington

An even par 72 saw Richard Green claim fourth as Padraig Harrington captured the title he classes as his &aposfifth major&apos with a play-off victory over Bradley Dredge at the Irish Open. Green finished the tournament on even par 288, five shots behind Harrington and Dredge, to be the leading Australian, while compatriots Brett Rumford and Matthew Zions finished well out of contention on 11 and 17 over respectively. Harrington admitted he struggled to cope with the weight of expectation from a partisan home crowd. The Dubliner ended a 25-year wait for an Irish winner of the event, matching John O&aposLeary&aposs success of 1982. Harrington, 35, headed into the final day with a three-stroke lead but by the 17th he had been caught at five under by Dredge. They could not be separated at the last so returned to the 18th for a sudden death play-off which Harrington won with a par five after his opponent&aposs third shot plugged in the river bank guarding the green. The Ryder Cup star held his nerve to get up and down from 28 feet, sparking wild scenes at Adare Manor. “It is great. I&aposm starting to get emotional. Throughout the day I had to keep on a level keel and it is only now it is starting to hit home,” said Harrington. “It is the fifth biggest tournament for me to win. I can win the four majors and then your home open is the next biggest event.” Harrington admitted the passionate home fans had been both a help and a hindrance during a tense final round. “I found it difficult today, no question about it. All the way through I was more nervous there then I had been in many a tournament and I had to work very hard to stay focused and stay calm,” he added. “But the atmosphere was great, they were absolutely fantastic. I bogeyed the second hole and the applause I got going to the third tee really gave me a boost, gave me a lift, and I went and birdied that one.” Harrington got off to a shaky start when he fluffed a chip to bogey the second, but bounced back with a birdie on the next. He bogeyed the fifth but then went birdie-birdie-eagle from the seventh – holing a 10-foot putt on the ninth – to move to seven under par. A three-putt bogey at the 11th coupled with Dredge&aposs birdie at the next halved the Irishman&aposs lead, although that was extended to three strokes when his playing partner bogeyed the 13th. Dredge refused to throw in the towel and chipped in from 20 feet for birdie at the next and then holed from 30 feet on the 15th to reduce his deficit to just one shot. The Welshman looked to have let Harrington off the hook when he three-putted the 16th after an overly-cautious tee shot, but there was still time for more drama to come. Dredge missed the 17th fairway but fired a superb approach to three feet for birdie, while Harrington, from the middle of the fairway, missed the green and ran up a bogey five. All square playing the last, both players made par fives to force a play-off. Final results from Irish Open: (par 72) -5: Padraig Harrington 73 68 71 71, Bradley Dredge 75 71 69 68 -1: Simon Wakefield 70 72 73 72 E: Richard Green (Australia) 71 73 72 72, Louis Oosthuizen 69 74 73 72, Andres Romero 68 74 75 71 +2: Simon Dyson 68 78 75 69, Peter Hanson 68 78 73 71, Raphael Jacquelin 74 72 72 72, Francesco Molinari 71 74 73 72 +4: James Kingston 69 78 76 69 Also: +11: Brett Rumford 80 71 73 75 +17: Matthew Zions 71 78 80 76