Pádraig Harrington wins $1m playoff after a rollercoaster finish at the Honda Classic

Harrington beat the rookie Daniel Berger in a tense Monday playoff in Florida.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON PULLED off an unthinkable comeback to win the sudden-death playoff in an incredible Monday finish at the Honda Classic.

A par on the second playoff hole sealed a nailbiting victory over American rookie Daniel Berger and gave Harrington his first US win since the 2008 PGA Championship.

The three-time Major champion will rise more than 200 places in the world rankings after starting the week at a lowly 297th.

The win also guarantees his invitation back to the Masters after he failed to qualify for the 2014 tournament at Augusta National as well as the winners’ cheque for $1.1 million (€980,000).

“Hopefully this isn’t an isolated win,” he beamed afterwards.

“I really do believe in myself. I think I found that mental edge I’ve been lacking the last number of years.

Hopefully I can stick with that going forward and be consistently contending because I know if I am contending, I can win.

After losing ground in the third round on Sunday, Harrington started the weather-delayed final day four shots behind leader Ian Poulter.

That gap was five by the time the leaders reached the back nine before a remarkable series of events catapulted Harrington back into contention.

While Poulter melted down with a double bogey at the 11th and then a triple bogey at the 14th, Harrington went on a birdie spree.

He made four straight on 11, 12, 13 and 14 to move to seven-under par and take a unthinkable one-shot lead.

Two pars left him as master of his own destiny as he faced the par-three 17th hole, but he looked to have let his chance agonisingly slip when he found the water and could only manage a double-bogey five.

Berger was in the clubhouse on six-under, leaving Harrington needing a birdie four at the last to force a playoff.

And he showed nerves of steel to sink a 20-foot birdie and take the tournament to a 73rd hole.

Both men had had their chance to win with birdie putts on the first sudden-death playoff hole at 18 but before returning to play the 17th a second time.

This time Harrington made no mistake, stitching his tee shot and holing out for par while Berger found the water under pressure.

Click here for the final leaderboard>

Harrington’s win has big implications for his world ranking, his bank balance and The Masters

Lowry, Given, Lineker and Molinari salute Pádraig Harrington’s brilliant Honda Classic win

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Niall Kelly

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