Fresh from his victory at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Padraig Harrington will tee up in this week’s Barclays Singapore Open determined to banish the memories of his “most bitter loss” in 2008.
Harrington captured his first title since the 2010 Iskandar Johor Open when he saw off the American Major-winning trio of Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson in his last competitive outing two weeks ago.
His victory in Bermuda gave Harrington’s confidence a timely lift ahead of this week’s US$6million tournament at Sentosa Golf Club, in Singapore, where the three-time Major Champion feels he has unfinished business after losing out to Indian Jeev Milkha Singh by a single stroke in 2008.
Harrington led by one shot with three holes to play, but made costly bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes – both in unfortunate circumstances – to hand victory to Singh.
The Irishman freely admits that the loss hurt him, but is keen to make amends by claiming his first European Tour title for more than four years.
Harrington, currently in 34th place in The Race to Dubai, said: “In 2008, it was probably my most bitter loss on a golf course. I was two shots ahead with three holes to play, played the last three holes magnificently but managed to play them in two over par. So I can certainly remember those three holes really well!
“I hit a beautiful shot into the 16th that went in the water, and I hit a beautiful a shot at the 18th that got stuck on the bank behind. I felt I got two of the worst breaks I’ve seen coming down the stretch.
“But as much I was bitter to lose in 2008, I was happy to see Jeev win it. You couldn’t ask for a nicer guy to win a tournament. If you’re going to lose a tournament, losing to Jeev is not a bad thing. He really can deliver when he’s on form. He’s a really good player, and a great guy.”
That performance apart, Harrington’s record at Sentosa Golf Club is relatively modest, but the Dubliner feels his form is peaking at the business end of the season.
After this week, Harrington heads to Hong Kong and Dubai for his final two appearances of the year, and the 41 year old will use his Bermuda triumph as a springboard in his bid to end his barren spell.
He said: “There’s no doubt about it, it’s always nice to win. Winning is a habit, it was only 36 holes and there was only four players, but still you get the same feelings when you’re coming down the stretch and you’re trying to hold some guys off and protect your lead. Those are the sorts of experiences you want to have as often as possible, because it makes winning easier when it comes down to it.
“I have been playing quite nicely all year and I have putted well recently, so it was nice to get my rewards. I’m obviously happy to have won, but I’ll need a win or two in regular tournaments to feel I’m really back to my best.”