Harrington wins playoff to take Honda Classic


Padraig Harrington birdied the 72nd hole and beat Daniel Berger in a playoff to win the Honda Classic. Here's what you may have missed from a wild Monday finish at PGA National:

Leaderboard: Harrington (-6), Berger (-6), Paul Casey (-5), Russell Knox (-5), Ian Poulter (-5)

What it means: The win is Harrington’s first on Tour since the 2008 PGA Championship. He authored a wacky even-par 70 in his final round - with a bogey, two doubles and five birdies, including four in a row from Nos. 11-14 - to force a playoff. Needing just two pars to finish at 7 under and win by one in regulation, he instead found the water for a double bogey on the par-3 17th and rolled in a 16-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th. After halving the first extra hole with a par, Harrington redeemed himself on 17, the second extra hole, by flagging his approach, two-putting for par and eliminating Berger. Oddly enough, Harrington and last week’s winner at Riviera, James Hahn, won in back-to-back weeks from the 297th position in the Official World Golf Ranking. That means Harrington, 43, will be heading back to Augusta National this April after missing the Masters last year.

Best of the rest: Berger’s final-round 64 tied for the low round of the tournament and got him into the clubhouse over an hour before the final group finished. After starting the day nine shots back, he sat around on the driving range and putting green, safe and sound at 6 under. After a lengthy wait, he eventually was returned to the golf course for a playoff with Harrington. Unfortunately for the 21-year-old rookie, he hit his ball in the water on the second extra hole, No. 17, and was eliminated. Had he won, it would have been the second-largest final-round comeback in Tour history, bested only by Paul Lawrie, who trailed Jean van de Velde by 10 shots at the 1999 Open Championship – and Berger would have qualified for the Masters.

Round of the day: Brian Harman tied Berger with a Sunday-Monday 64, but we'll focus on Berger. He made only one bogey and seven birdies in his final round, with the two biggest coming on Nos. 17 and 18 in regulation. While the rest of the field, particularly Harrington and Patrick Reed, got caught in the Bear Trap, Berger almost won the Honda on Nos. 15-17. Prior to revisitng the 17th for a fifth time in the playoff, he played that three-hole stretch 5 under for the week.

Best of the rest: Casey turned in a tidy 2-under 68 but missed an opportunity to tie Berger and Harrington on 18 when he hooked a 3-wood left of the green, hit his pitch short, and missed his 18-foot birdie putt. Knox, like Berger, also birdied the last two holes but came up one shot short.

Biggest disappointments: Berger aside, Poulter and Reed - in that order. Poulter took his first 54-hole lead in his PGA Tour career Sunday afternoon, up three shots at 9 under. He spent the rest of Sunday evening and Monday morning donating five golf balls to the deep-sea divers who dredge the lakes at PGA National. After Poulter finally imploded for good - with two balls in the water and a triple bogey on No. 14 - Reed appeared to be in position for his fifth career win and second this year. Instead, he came up short of the 15th green - in the water - and went through the Bear Trap double bogey-bogey-bogey, finishing in a tie for seventh at 3 under.

Shot of the day: Harrington on 17 in the playoff. He not only put himself in position to win, he effectively put Berger in the water.

Quote of the day: "I really do believe in myself. I think I found that mental edge." - Harrington