Padraig Harrington wins by five shots
Padraig Harrington won the Dunhill Links Championship by five strokes on Sunday to set up an intriguing finale for Europe's order of merit.
The Irishman took the $800,000 first prize that moved him to second on the money-list about $200,000 behind leader Paul Casey after a final round four-under-par 68 at the Old Course.
He ended on 16-under-par, with Britons Bradley Dredge and Anthony Wall and American Edward Loar sharing second place.
Harrington started the day a stroke adrift of Dredge but began his march to victory, his first of the season, when the Welshman double-bogeyed the short 11th and he birdied it.
That caused a three-shot swing after the pair had been locked together and Harrington rounded off a flawless finish by birdeying the last.
The infamous 11th hole 'Strath' bunker, which in 1921 caused Bobby Jones to rip up his card after he floundered in it on his British Open debut, as good as settled the tournament's outcome.
Dredge's ball was so much under the bunker's lip he had to play out backwards.
After that, Harrington was untroubled as he repeated his feat of 2004 and won the Dunhill Links event just after featuring in a European Ryder Cup victory.
He told reporters: "Winning the order of merit would be a big deal for me. I've been using it as motivation since the Ryder Cup. Certainly it's something you want on your CV."
While Harrington climbed from fifth place on the money-list, Europe's order of merit front-runner Casey still kept a healthy margin between him and the Irishman by producing a solid closing 68 to finish in a tie for sixth place.
A 20ft eagle putt by Ernie Els on the 18th, watered down Casey's earnings as the South African squeezed into fifth place, a shot better.
With two European Tour events to come, including the end-of-season big-money Volvo Masters, the order of merit race could go to the wire with third-placed David Howell, who missed the cut in Scotland, also still heavily involved.
In an effort to enhance his position, Harrington will add the Mallorca Classic to his schedule in two weeks time, although Casey will not play the event.
"I've gone to Valderrama once before with a chance to win (the order of merit) but lost out to Retief Goosen," said Harrington.
"My best performance at Valderrama is fifth because it doesn't always suit my game, so I'll go to Majorca to try to close the gap."
First round leader Casey again found himself with a cold putter to spoil his chances of a higher finish. He will now take two weeks off in America to "recharge batteries."
He said: "I ground it out and finished top 10 at least. I think I used up all my putts at the K Club (in the Ryder Cup)."