Padraig Harrington Claims Maiden Senior Major Title

The 50-year-old held off a late charge from fellow Ryder Cup captain, Steve Stricker, as Harrington secured his first senior Major success

Harrington eyes up a shot off the tee
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a thrilling weekend of golf, it was Padraig Harrington who claimed the final title on Sunday, with the 50-year-old securing his first senior Major title at the US Senior Open by just one shot.

Going into the final day, Harrington had held a five shot lead. However, over the final day at Saucon Valley Country Club, he was challenged by Steve Stricker, a player who the Irishman has history with as both captained their respective sides at the Ryder Cup in 2021.

"It's tough to lead from the front and it's even tougher when you have Steve Stricker behind you!" joked Harrington. "He's kind of got one up on me and maybe I owed him one here today. He certainly has my number a few times.

"It's very special (to win). The reason why I am on the Champions Tour is that I want to win the big events and the Majors. You go out on the regular Tour and if you're not winning the tournaments you are finishing 30th or 40th and it's a struggle. 

"You come here and you have the crowds rooting for you, and against you, in places. It's why we do it and, as tough as it is coming down the stretch with a one shot lead, my caddie reminded me 'would you be anywhere else?'"

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Looking to add a fifth senior Major title to his CV, Stricker struggled over the first seven holes before back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth gave the American momentum going into the back nine.

From there, the 55-year-old birdied a further four holes, including the 17th and 18th, to set the clubhouse target at nine-under-par. As the target was set, Harrington was struggling, with a level-par front nine being followed by two bogies at the 10th and 11th.

Harrington, who has three Major titles under his belt, managed to steady the ship at the 15th though, as a timely birdie gave him a one shot buffer as he entered the final few holes. 

What happened next was a real show of nerve, with the 50-year-old producing three two-putts of the highest quality under a serious amount of pressure. Rolling in the winning putt on the 18th, Harrington joined the likes of previous winners Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.