Irish Eyes Smiling

Harrington holds on -- claims U.S. Senior Open

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

(Chris Keane/USGA)

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

BETHLEHEM, PA. Closing out tournaments is never an easy deal but doing so in a major event can be an especially daunting challenge.

Playing in his first U.S. Senior Open Irishman Padraig Harrington entered the final round at Saucon Valley’s Old Course with a five-shot lead. Closing out matters was not that simple with former 2019 Open winner Steve Stricker applying pressure down the stretch.

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

What seemed at the start of the round as a foregone conclusion was anything but.

Harrington sealed his victory by holing a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th hole, and closing with three solid two-putt pars.

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

The 50-year-old carded a 1-over-par 72 for a 72-hole total of 10-under 274 to become the first player from the Republic of Ireland to hoist the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy. He also joined World Golf Hall of Famers Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus as the only multiple winners of The Open Championship to also win the U.S. Senior Open. Harrington, a three-time major champion, claimed the Claret Jug in 2007 and 2008.

“I think it’s special for me to win this one just because I’ve never won a USGA event,” said Harrington. “I think that adds more than if you could turn around and win a different senior major. But because I was never a U.S. Open champion or a junior champion, it’s great to come and win the senior one. It adds something that I never had in my career.”

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

Said a gracious Stricker, who captained the USA side to victory over the European side led by Harrington last September in the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits: “Hats off to him. He played great. It was close, but he was the better player this week.” Harrington’s career has been often neglected — sandwiched between the top Euro players from the previous generation with the likes of Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam — to those competing on the PGA Tour now with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry leading the way. 

Harrington did win three major championships in his career but it’s been pointed out that when Padraig claimed The Open and PGA Championships in the same year in 2008 — Woods was not in the field because of surgery to his broken leg following his epic win the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Would the presence of Woods have changed matters? No one will ever be able to say with certainty but it should not diminish the achievement Harrington earned. 

Harrington - Irish Eyes Smiling
(Steven Gibbons/USGA)

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

What the Champion Receives
-Custody of the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy for one year
-A gold medal
-Exemptions into the next 10 U.S. Senior Opens
-Exemption into the 2023 U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club
-First-place prize of $720,000

When Harrington faced Stricker last year in the Ryder Cup, the younger and more highly ranked American team simply vanquished Harrington’s European Tour by a score of 19-9. Harrington faced pushback on a range of fronts tied to his decisions regarding pairings and positioning of his line-up. In fairness, the juggernaut presented by a younger and deeper USA squad was no match for a European team that was outplayed. The final result would likely not have changed no matter who captained the Euro squad that week.

Harrington’s win returns the spotlight on his sterling career. Having turned professional in 1995, he has won 15 times on the European Tour and six times on the PGA Tour.  How good has Padraig been on the world stage? He spent over 300 weeks in the world top ten between 2001 and 2010 — achieving his best ranking of third following his second Open Championship victory. The Irishman was also a member of six consecutive Euro Ryder Cup teams.

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This is the first time in 25 years that the U.S. Senior Open (Padraig Harrington), U.S. Open (Matt Fitzpatrick) and U.S. Women’s Open (Minjee Lee) were all won by non-Americans. In 1997, the three champions were Ernie Els (U.S. Open), Graham Marsh (U.S. Senior Open) and Alison Nicholas (U.S. Women’s Open).

Harrington’s schedule will now turn to key European events coming up with the Irish Open, Scottish Open and The Open Championship at St. Andrews, which is celebrating the 150th playing. Harrington is one of only seven players since the end of World War II to successfully defend his Open title with his triumphs in 2007 and 2008.

In 2022, Harrington started playing on the PGA Tour Champions — finishing second to Stricker in his first Seniors major — The Tradition. Claiming victory over the star from Wisconsin at Saucon Valley provided a meaningful payback. 

Saucon Valley hosted a record 3rd U.S. Senior Open and a sixth USGA Championship.

“I really appreciated the type of week it was. The USGA set up a fabulous course, much tougher than I had expected. I knew that would play into my hands, but it was a tough golf course. Saucon Valley is excellent. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on this type of style of golf course when you’re leading. You don’t want to make a mistake. It was definitely a tension-filled day.”

A day that showcased two gifted golfers battling down the stretch with only one man emerging triumphantly.

For Harrington it means his Irish eyes are indeed smiling now.

Harrington – Irish Eyes Smiling

BETHLEHEM, PA. – Results from Sunday’s final round of the 2022 U.S. Senior Open Championship, played at 6,997-yard, par-71 Saucon Valley Country Club (Old Course).

Pos.PlayerTo ParR1R2R3R4Total
1Padraig Harrington-1071656672274
2Steve Stricker-968697365275
3Mark Hensby-467737169280
T4Thongchai Jaidee-370697270281
T4Rob Labritz-369696974281
T4Gene Sauers-372676874281
T7Jerry Kelly-272717267282
T7Miguel Angel Jiménez-279647069282
T7Paul Broadhurst-268747070282
T7Jay Haas-267727172282
T11David Toms-172706972283
T11Steven Alker-172677173283
T13Steve FleschPar73697369284
T13Rod PamplingPar73707071284
T13Alex CejkaPar71697173284
T13Ernie ElsPar72706775284
17Doug Barron+172687174285
T18Retief Goosen+271717569286
T18Brian Gay+272736972286
T18Rocco Mediate+268717473286
T18Ken Duke+273726873286
T18Y.E. Yang+274726773286
T18Ken Tanigawa+275686974286
24Tracy Phillips+372697472287
T25Stuart Appleby+476697172288
T25Markus Brier+471717175288
T25Jim Furyk+471766675288
T28Bob Estes+576717171289
T28Scott Parel+572757072289
T28Colin Montgomerie+575717073289
T28John Huston+572707374289
T28Kevin Sutherland+572727075289
T33Glen Day+670747571290
T33Paul Goydos+669767471290
T33Jeff Schmid+675707372290
T33Lee Janzen+674727272290
T33Jeff Sluman+672757172290
T33Charlie Wi+675697373290
T33Vijay Singh+675707273290
T33Davis Love III+676687175290
T41Michael Muehr+771737869291
T41Andrew Johnson+776707471291
T41Robert Karlsson+771747472291
T41Tim Petrovic+768757573291
T41Tom Gillis+774717373291
T41Mark O’Meara+775727074291
T41Jeff Brehaut+775677376291
T41Cameron Beckman+773717176291
T49Scott McCarron+875727372292
T49Richard Green+871717377292
T51Scott Verplank+974727374293
T51John Senden+973727276293
T53Willie Wood+1074727474294
T53Wes Short, Jr.+1070737477294
T55Clark Dennis+1173707775295
T55Phillip Price+1174737375295
T55Omar Uresti+1175697477295
T58Bob May+1276707773296
T58James Kingston+1271767673296
60Alan McLean+1373737477297
61Jeff Gove+1471767477298
62Gavin Coles+1574737775299
63Peter Baker+1674737479300
64Craig Thomas+2274717784306
CUTTodd White (a)+67375148
CUTHarrison Frazar+67573148
CUTBritt Pavelonis+67573148
CUTMatt Gogel+67573148
CUTDuffy Waldorf+67771148
CUTK.J. Choi+67771148
CUTRichard Gilkey+77475149
CUTDonald Carpenter III+77475149
CUTJoakim Haeggman+77475149
CUTShane Bertsch+77277149
CUTDavid Duval+77871149
CUTBrett Quigley+77376149
CUTBernhard Langer+77475149
CUTJonathan Kaye+77871149
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CUTAndrew Sapp+97675151
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CUTHarry Rudolph+98170151
CUTDavid Noll (a)+97972151
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CUTNaoyuki Tamura+98071151
CUTMauricio Molina+97477151
CUTFred Funk+97576151
CUTJack Larkin, Sr. (a)+97774151
CUTMike Weir+108072152
CUTWoody Austin+107478152
CUTWilliam Mitchell (a)+108270152
CUTDarren Clarke+107478152
CUTKevin Kraft+108072152
CUTCharles Bolling+117974153
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CUTTom Pernice Jr.+117875153
CUTMichael Campbell+117974153
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CUTMiles McConnell (a)+127975154
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CUTDicky Pride+127975154
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CUTBryan Hoops (a)+137877155
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CUTMike Meehan+148274156
CUTMatthew Sughrue (a)+158374157
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CUTG. Davis Boland+167880158
CUTYong Lee+168573158
CUTGus Ulrich+168276158
CUTDolph Roder+168375158
CUTJudd Gibb+168078158
CUTRoger Chapman+168078158
CUTRafael Gómez+168474158
CUTTim Parun+178277159
CUTMike Molino+178475159
CUTKirk Triplett+177683159
CUTJerry Gunthorpe+178376159
CUTJay Williamson+177485159
CUTPat O’Donnell (a)+188575160
CUTNed Zachar (a)+187783160
CUTBrian Spitz+187981160
CUTMark Sanchez (a)+188278160
CUTJim Roy+188674160
CUTMicah Rudosky+188674160
CUTEddie Hargett (a)+198180161
CUTJon Veneziano+208577162
CUTJoel Johnson+208478162
CUTKevin Baker+208082162
CUTRobert Funk (a)+217885163
CUTBob Niger+218380163
CUTBill Harvey+228084164
CUTWilliam Ayres+228282164
CUTBill Van Orman+227985164
CUTAnthony Aguilar+228381164
CUTTim Hogarth (a)+228282164
CUTMike Karney+248779166
CUTJames Barnes+258285167
CUTJames Chung+318588173
CUTGene Elliott (a)+328985174
WDBrandt JobePar5555
WDJack Hall (a)Par8585
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