BOCA RATON, Fla. — From the moment Padraig Harrington’s eagle attempt from a bunker at the first hole nicked the flag and stopped for a tap-in birdie, it was apparent Sunday was going to be the Irishman’s day.
Subsequent birdies at the second, fourth, fifth sixth and seventh holes – yes, he was 6 under through seven holes – changed the apparent to obvious: Harrington was going to win the TimberTech Championship at Broken Sound Club.
It was just a question of, by how much?
Harrington fired a 7-under 64 on the Old Course to beat hometown hero Bernhard Langer (70) and Charlie Wi (64) by seven shots at 16-under 197. Langer was trying to win the TimberTech Championship for the second consecutive year and a record fourth time.
Photos: 2023 TimberTech Championship
“It doesn’t get much better,” Harrington said of his start. “I hit some close shots, and I also made some good putts. I also got a couple of nice breaks, which is the sort of things that happens when you win a golf tournament. I was actually thinking about shooting a 59 when I hit it close at 8.”
Harrington, a three-time major champion who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year, made it interesting – for a few moments – when his drive at No. 9 went into the water. Langer birdied the hole and Harrington had to make a 6-foot bogey putt. Harrington’s lead went from four shots to two.
“That 6-footer was important to winning the tournament,” Harrington said. “A two-shot lead is fine.”
That was as close as Langer would get. Langer bogeyed No. 11, Harrington birdied No. 14 and that was the tournament.
It’s not easy to beat Langer in his hometown event. In 16 starts at the TimberTech, he has three wins, four seconds and two thirds and has earned $1.932 million with an average score of 68.21.
“I was four-under on the front nine and still lost distance to the leader,” Langer said. “And then I made a horrible bogey on 11. And then a really bad shot on 17 (where he made double bogey), so the finish was disastrous.
“Padraig played flawless other than the bad tee shot on 9. It seemed like he birdied every hole. He played solid the rest of the day.”
Hall of Famer Ernie Els shot 70 and tied for fourth place with Shane Bertsch (70). Marco Dawson (67), who had to be treated by paramedics after the round, tied for sixth with Ken Duke (69) and David Toms (72).
Harrington used his length – he was routinely outdriving Langer and most other players by 40…