Harrington Delighted To Bank Abu Dhabi HSBC Fourth

... Yas Links, Abu Dhabi 

Padraig Harrington was delighted with a new season start of fourth as Edinburgh-based Frenchman Victor Perez muscled his way to victory despite a near disaster down the last at the  Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Perez picked-up a seventh pro victory and a third DP World Tour title winning by a shot in posting a closing 66 and an 18-under par triumph over the Yas Links course.

Padraig Harrington pleased to finish fourth on debut in 2023 (Photo – Getty/DP World Tour)

Perez, who was a member of last week’s winning European Hero Cup side, was leading by two playing the last but sent his tee shot into a fairway bunker but skied his second shot onto the sandy bank of a water-hazard, but managing to walk off with a bogey ‘5’ and win by a shot.

Harrington was in the scorer’s hut watching the events unfold, no doubt to be sure he would not be involved in a play-off, and after signing for a 67 and fourth place at 17-under.

The result is Harrington’s best DP World Tour finish since he finished runner-up in the 2018 Czech Masters.

“I did some good stuff today while I would also like to have a few shots back including bogeying the par-5 seventh but then it was nice to birdie the second after the bogey on one from a tough lie in a bunker, and also birdie five and eight,” he said.

“Then not to birdie the two par-5s over the inward nine didn’t help whereas everything else is something I can build-on going forward.

“I’m heading to Dubai feeling I am well ahead of where I thought I would be after this first event of the New Year.  I would have given myself two weeks to get myself showing a bit of form.

“So, it’s great I was genuinely in contention, and a good thing is that I felt nice and relaxed”.

In contrast, Shane Lowry looked gutted with his chance to win and be handed the falcon trophy for a second time in four years ending in a horror four-hole stretch from the 14th to 17th holes posting scores of bogey, bogey, double-bogey and a 17th hole bogey.

Lowry, like Harrington had been just one of the lead after back-to-back birdies at 12th and 13th holes but came home in a golfing ambulance signing for a 73 and dropping in a tie for 28th at nine-under.

Seamus Power was jetting home to Las Vegas slightly disappointed by his efforts this past two weeks but clearly pleased with his game in his debut competing in the Middle East.

Power produced a closing round 69, capped by eagling the pair-5 seventh hole though sandwiched in between two bogeys, while he delighted in playing his 10 holes on four-under with back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12, and with the effort over the four days securing him a share of 20th.

“I have really enjoyed the two events, I really have but I just struggled on the greens here at Yas,” he said.

“I had one little hot spell there on Thursday with four birdies in five holes, so it was a bit frustrating on the greens.  I just didn’t hole anything today with an awful bogey on one, and then three-putted the second and three-putt on six, so it’s just one of those sort of days and with a lot of three putts the last couple of rounds.

“Though a lot of good stuff with my ball-striking is as good as it’s been and at this time of the season is very, very encouraging. Yes, a lot of good stuff”.

Power will have a week off before teeing-up in the February 2nd starting AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and returning a year after sharing ninth place.

Harrington and Lowry will contest this coming week’s $US 9m Hero Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Club in Dubai.

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