Harrington celebrates with caddy Ronan Flood. The European Tour/Twitter
winning ways

Harrington: It was a big win, I'll be able to put 2016 down as a winning year

The Dubliner claimed his 15th European Tour victory in Portugal this afternoon.

IT WAS A matter of when, not if, for Pádraig Harrington as he reflected on his first win of 2016 and first on the European Tour in eight years.

The three-time Major winner held his nerve to spectacularly claim the Portugal Masters by one shot earlier as he returned to winning ways.

Harrington saw off the challenge of defending champion Andy Sullivan with a bogey-free round of 65, and afterwards he admitted he was in a good place mentally all week.

“A lot of good things went for me this week, I played nicely,” he told Sky Sports.

“A good change of attitude at the start of the week and no doubt during the week I got my breaks.

“I’ve got to say that I’ve been in a good place all week mentally, I was very relaxed, very comfortable no matter what the outcome was.”

It’s Harrington’s first victory since tasting success at the Honda Classic in March 2015 and continues his record of winning an event every year for the last three.

“I knew I’d get an opportunity at some stage,” the Dubliner continued.

“Every last round I’ve ever played, whether I’ve won or lost there comes a pivotal point and if you take it, it turns the tide in your favour and obviously holing the bunker shot at 11 was a huge plus.”

“I’ve won plenty since then, I’ve been winning one a year for the last number of years so I’m comfortable enough in knowing that there was going to be a win. Every year you want one and I haven’t had one this year, so I’ll be able to put down 2016 as a winning year.

“It’s a big win. Portugal Masters is a big tournament. I’ve been coming here for ten years so I’ve always liked it down here. I’ve always liked coming down to Portugal. There’s so many Irish people here. It always felt like a home away from home, so it’s really nice to win the tournament.

“I tried to be really aggressive. The golf course suited me and I just tried to go after every pin I could and make birdies. I have a pretty good short game that was on form this week. No matter where I hit it, I felt like I could get it up and down.”

Harrington becomes the second Irishman to win the Portugal Masters after Shane Lowry’s victory on the Algarve in 2012.

He takes home a cheque for €333,330 but, just as significantly, 605,671 Race to Dubai points which sees him surge up to 43rd in the rankings.

“Probably the biggest priority for me now is to figure out a way to qualify for the Masters,” Harrington said about his schedule for the rest of the year.

“I’ll have a look to see how I sit. If I play the last three [European Tour events], can I move up in the order of merit? Or would I be better off going at world ranking points? It remains to be seen.”

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Pádraig, you beauty! Harrington surges to first European Tour victory since 2008

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