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Harrington ends two-year title drought in style



Padraig Harrington.

JOHOR BAHRU (Malaysia): Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington cruised to a three-stroke victory in the Iskandar Johor Open on Sunday, ending a two-year title drought in style.

The Ryder Cup star, who began the final round with a five-shot cushion, was never seriously threatened by the chasing pack, hitting a 69 to take him to a total of 20-under-par in the $1.25 million Asian Tour event.

Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Noh Seung-Yul finished second after a 65, with birdies on his final three holes, one ahead of Taiwan's Lin Wen-tang, who carded a 68.

Gangjee 14th

Rahil Gangjee scored a flawless front-nine as he returned a four-under 68 in the final round to sign off the highest among the Indians at tied 14th.

Gangjee slotted in five birdies against a bogey to end his campaign with a total of nine-under 279. Gangjee opened with a birdie and followed it up with two more to make the turn three-under. On his way back, the Indian continued his fine form to pick up two more strokes but a bogey on the final hole denied him a finish higher up the leaderboard.

Among the other Indians in fray, Digvijay Singh was the next best-placed at tied 38th after a one-under 71 left his overall total at four-under 284.

Anirban Lahiri (71) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (71) were tied for the 44th position with totals of three-under 285.

Perfect conditions

The Irishman described the conditions on the course Sunday as “perfect”, and said “When I came and saw the conditions I knew scoring was going to be good and there was potentially a chance for somebody to shoot 64, like the 64s that were shot earlier in the week, so that meant I had to play some good golf and make some birdies.”

Harrington, who said he would be taking a two-week break, said he had benefited from a string of lucky moments during the week. “I would have to say things went my way all four rounds this week. There is no doubt about it, it was my week to win, and if you'd followed me for the four days I don't think anybody would have questioned the fact that my name must have been written on this trophy before this tournament started.

The World No. 22, who takes home a cheque for nearly $200,000, was quickly into his stride on Sunday, birdying three of his first four holes and turning in 34. His lead briefly dropped to four after fireworks from South Korea's Noh and Kiradech on the 11th hole.

But the unflustered Irishman extended his lead further after holing a long putt for birdie on the par-five 13th, following up with a birdie on the 14th after his second shot landed close to the pin.

Harrington finished with six birdies against three bogeys, including two bogeys on the last three holes.. — Agencies

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