Harrington holds firm in Taiwan


Padraig Harrington withstood a late bout of nerves to secure his sixth tour title as a final-round 69 gave him a one-shot win at the BMW Asian Open in Taiwan today.

The Irishman had gone into the round a shot behind Maarten Lafeber, but he quickly overtook the Dutchman with four birdies in his first seven holes and looked to be coasting towards victory.

He had to endure a late wobble however, first finding water on the 16th and then bogeying the 17th.

And after pushing his tee-shot at the short last, he had to hole an eight-footer that proved to be the winning putt.

It was a familiar story for Lafeber, three shots back on 12-under 276 after a 73, and he has now failed to win any of the three events in the past six weeks - after the Lancome Trophy and the Madrid Open - that he has led at the halfway stage.

Harrington's closest challenge instead came from Indian Jyoti Randhawa, who rediscovered the form that gave him the first-round lead to fire a flawless, eight-under-par 64 for a 14-under total of 274.

South African Trevor Immelman, who had looked in superb form all week, could hardly keep out of trouble and finished on 12-under after a 72.

The win continued an excellent year for the consistent Harrington, who also won the Dunhill Links Championship, and gave him the perfect start to the 2003 Order of Merit, with this event being the first counting event.

After picking up another shot at the 10th, the Ryder Cup star looked set to drop a shot at the 16th after finding water with a huge drive off the tee.

But he recovered well, hitting a wedge to six feet and holing for par.

A sloppy chip on the 17th led to a bogey five, reducing Harrington's lead to just one, but he held his nerve to claim the title with a steely putt on the last.