PADRAIG HARRINGTONerased 25 years of national frustration on Sunday but also moved a step closerto becoming the best player never to have won a major. Harrington (below) isthe first native son to win the Irish Open since John O'Leary in 1982.Harrington, 35, won by parring the first playoff hole after he and BradleyDredge tied over 72 holes at five-under 283 at Adare Manor Hotel & GolfResort, in Limerick. The No. 11--ranked player in the world, Harrington has nowbeen victorious twice on the PGA Tour and 12 times in Europe, where he also wonthe money title last year. "I've always said that after the four majors,this is the next event I've wanted to win," Harrington said. Well, onedown, four to go, and the clock's ticking, Paddy.
• LET THEbattlefield-promotion talk begin. Nick Flanagan, the 2003 U.S. Amateur champfrom New South Wales, Australia, won the Nationwide tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am.Four weeks ago Flanagan won the Henrico County Open, meaning that one more Wwill send him directly to the PGA Tour, a feat last accomplished by Jason Gorein 2005. For Flanagan, 22, the big difference in his play recently has been hisability to close--his final-round scoring average has dropped from 71.06 in2006 to 70.50 this year. At the BMW, Flanagan shot a 65 on Sunday to overcome afour-stroke deficit.
• WHEN 15-YEAR-OLDRyo Ishikawa won last week's Munsingwear Open KSB Cup, on the Japan tour, thehigh school freshman became the youngest winner of a men's pro event in thatcountry's history. The previous record was held by Seve Ballesteros, who wonthe 1977 Japan Open at age 20.... Celebrated amateur Esther Choe (JuniorSurvey, G13) has decided not to attend Arizona in the fall. Instead, the17-year-old Choe will most likely turn pro after the U.S. Women's Amateur inAugust.
• LOCAL QUALIFYINGfor the U.S. Open wrapped up on May 19, and 17-year-old Tadd Fujikawa ofHawaii, who at the Sony Open became the youngest player to make the cut on thePGA Tour in 50 years, made it through the first round. But there is nosectional qualifier in Hawaii, which means that the closest location availableis in Marietta, Calif., on June 4. That date doesn't work for Fujikawa, soinstead he'll fly to Japan to play for one of three spots available there onMay 28.... Arnold Palmer's grandson Sam Saunders failed to advance to thesectionals when he lost a playoff, but other family members of notable golfpersonalities did move on. Phil Mickelson's brother, Tim, and Camilo Villegas'sbrother, Manuel, each advanced. Likewise, Peter Uihlein, son of Acushnetchairman and CEO Wally, and Matt Weibring, son of D.A., also got through. Ourfavorite of those who are sectionals-bound? Mike Van Sickle, son of SI seniorwriter Gary.
• SUGGESTED WOODSBABY NAME OF THE WEEK Kiawah.
• For Gary VanSickle's Inside Golf column, go to GOLF.com.
Money that Zach Johnson has won at TPC Sugarloaf, outof $9.7 million in career earnings.
Enjoy some rarefied air in the club-rich surrounds ofNew York City
WHAT Somers Pointe Golf Club
WHERE Somers, N.Y.
COST $11.5 million
HOOK This 27-hole facility designed by Geoffrey Cornishhad a $400,000 face-lift in 2004 and was named Best Private Course inWestchester by Westchester magazine in 2005. That's saying something in acounty that includes Winged Foot, Westchester, Quaker Ridge, Metropolis,Wykagyl and Hudson National, to name a few.
FRINGE BENEFIT It contains one of the highest points inWestchester (695 feet above sea level), so you can look down on all those otherfamous clubs.
"These days I find Finchem's argumentunconvincing." --MY SHOT, PAGE G28
MEL EVANS/AP (OCHOA)
¬†LORENAOCHOA overtook Sarah Lee to win the Sybase Classic at Upper Montclair CountryClub in Clifton, N.J. It was Ochoa's first successful title defense and herfirst win since rising to No. 1 in the Rolex Ranking.
PETER MORRISON/AP (HARRINGTON)
COURTESY OF SOMERS POINTE GC