Harrington strolls into contention for crown

Padraig Harrington claimed the 10th European Tour title of his career to charge into contention for the Order of Merit title yesterday. The Irishman carded a final-round 68 at St Andrews for a five-shot victory over Anthony Wall, the American Edward Loar and the overnight leader Bradley Dredge in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Ernie Els eagled the 18th after driving the green to claim fifth place on 10 under. The first prize of £427,441 lifted Harrington into second on the money list, £147,900 behind his Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey who closed with a 68 for a share of sixth place.

"It's big, it's a huge deal," admitted Harrington, who finished second on the Order of Merit in 2001 and 2002 and third the following two years.

"It's got to be something you want to put on to your CV; the Order of Merit is directly behind the majors. This time of year everything is about the Order of Merit, it gets you going again. I've been using it as motivation after the Ryder Cup to get out on the golf course and push on. If I'd been further back, I would have found it harder to come out and play such good golf."

Only two events remain to decide who will succeed Colin Montgomerie as the European No 1: the Mallorca Classic from 19 to 22 October and the Volvo Masters the following week at Valderrama.

Harrington had not planned to play in Mallorca but added: "Valderrama has not been the happiest hunting ground for me so anything I can get in Mallorca could push me up a bit."

The 35-year-old, who has had 29 second-place finishes, began the final round a shot behind Dredge, but wiped out that deficit with a birdie on the first.

Dredge went back in front with a birdie on the fifth after a superb long bunker shot from an awkward stance, but Harrington pegged him back again on the ninth. The key hole was the 11th, however, which brought a three-shot swing in the Irishman's favour.

Dredge found Strath bunker off the tee and was forced to play out backwards on his way to a double-bogey five, while Harrington holed from 10 feet for a birdie two.

That allowed Harrington to cruise to his second victory in the event in four years, and he also helped partner J P McManus to win the team competition for the second time as well.

"I hadn't won in Europe for two years, although I won twice in America last year, but it's great to come back and win," he added.

"You never want to go a year without a win. It's very special to win and I'm really happy the way I did it.

"I played great yesterday [a 68 at Carnoustie] and backed it up again today."

Casey, who overtook his Ryder Cup team-mate David Howell on the money list by winning the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth last month, led by one shot after an opening 63 at Kingsbarns but struggled to rounds of 74 and 73 at St Andrews and Carnoustie.

"After a tough Friday and Saturday, to post a top-six finish is a good result," the 29-year-old said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back