Padraig Harrington curled in a big-breaking 65-foot eagle putt on the final hole to beat Jim Furyk by a stroke in the Barclays Classic at sun-baked Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., yesterday.
Harrington took advantage of Furyk's late meltdown in the 90-degree heat for his second PGA Tour victory of the season. He overcame a three-stroke deficit with five holes to play to stun Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion.
Harrington closed with a 1-under 70 for a total of 10-under 274. The nine-time European tour winner won the tournament a year after losing a playoff to Sergio Garcia in his first appearance in the event.
"To hole a putt like that on the final hole is very special. Very special," Harrington said. "I hit that putt pure.
"I was just trying to two-putt. Trying to get it down there close. If you'd offered me three, four feet, I probably would have taken it."
Harrington, a playoff winner over Vijay Singh in the Honda Classic in early March, walked off with the $1,035,000 first-place check after Furyk let it slip away with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.
"I feel sorry for Jim," Harrington said.
Furyk missed a four-foot birdie putt on the 372-yard 17th to drop into a tie with Harrington, setting up the dramatic finish on the par-5 closing hole.
"I opened the door a little bit with the bogey on 16 and then missing the short one on 17," Furyk said. "I make that putt 99 percent of the time."
After Harrington holed his second eagle putt of the day to clinch the victory, Furyk made a 10-foot birdie putt for a 71.
"He just hit a fabulous putt," Furyk said. "It went right in the center. There's nothing you can really do."
Harrington bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12 to fall three strokes back, but made a five-foot birdie putt on No. 14 to keep the pressure on Furyk. Harrington got up and down for par from the left rough on the par-3 16th and two-putted for par on No. 17.
"On 16, that was the first big break of the day," Harrington said. "Jim didn't get it up and down there. I got a big break. Something I didn't expect."
Furyk, winless in 39 events since the 2003 Buick Open, has three runner-up finishes this year, including a playoff loss to Singh in the Wachovia Championship.
"There's no consolation," Furyk said. "Finishing second really stinks!"
A year after returning to competition following surgery on his left wrist, Furyk seemed to be patiently working his way around the tight course in pursuit of his 10th PGA Tour title until unraveling down the stretch.
Furyk topped the leaderboard after the first two days.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Mark McNulty learned to play golf in Zimbabwe, where the greens were made from sand mixed with engine oil and they needed to be raked of footprints.
That helped the reigning Champions Tour rookie of the year develop one of the best putting touches on the circuit. So when McNulty lined up a 14-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole of the Bank of America Championship in Concord, Mass., he was confident.
"When you smell something, when a great player smells something . . . you want to make the putt so much that you're going to make it," McNulty said after earning $240,000 for his first victory of the year.
McNulty made his putt and Tom Purtzer missed from a little bit closer to lose despite holding the second-round lead for the second consecutive year at the par-72, 6,728-yard Nashawtuc Country Club.
In the final round last year, Purtzer made double-bogey on No. 17 to blow a four-stroke lead.
"Seventeen hasn't done me any favors," Purtzer said.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: Jean-Francois Remesy won his second straight French Open title in Versailles, France, beating Jean Van de Velde in a playoff.
Van de Velde led by a shot with one hole remaining in regulation, but he hooked his drive into the water and bogeyed the hole.