Harrington sticks to his guns

Padraig Harrington sent Tiger Woods to his first play-off defeat for eight years and beamed: "I stuck to my guns."

The Dubliner, 35, came back from the dead with three back nine birdies to tie with Woods in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan.

Then he produced a miracle birdie at the second extra hole - threading his recovery from a poor drive through the branches of a tree before firing his approach stone dead.

Harrington beamed: "I'm delighted with it. It was exciting golf. I take a lot of things out of it. I stuck to my guns and did my thing and while I got an opportunity I took it.

"I got into a very good frame of mind in the last round. I hadn't driven the ball well all week but I was comfortable with what I was doing and I was in a good position mentally.

"I was quite relaxed. I was kind of thinking all the way through the last round that there was going to be a chance for me, there was and I made the most of it."

Harrington and Woods carded three under par 67s in the final round but the Dubliner was keeping his feet firmly on the ground after his sudden-death victory.

All look lost when he fell three strokes behind the World No1 with 10 holes to play but he clawed his way back to snatch an amazing win.

He explained: "Beating Tiger in a play-off is satisfying and adds to the prestige of the win but I've got to say I take more confidence out of reading the situation very well in the last round and applying myself to the situation very well.

"I could see how things were going and what was required from a long way out. I was three behind after eight holes and Shingo Katayama made a double to drop back to leave Tiger with a three shot lead.

"I could see that Tiger went to pretty defensive mode from there and I could make up the three shots if he kept defending as he did right the way through.

"He laid up on the 13th, the par four which I tried to drive. And I ended up making a very simple birdie. He laid up on the 16th and hit a reasonable iron shot but was a long way away from the hole and three putted.

"He laid up on two par fours. If he was behind he wouldn't lay up. As I turned out I made birdies on them and he three putted one of them for a bogey. This golf course just lent itself to the person chasing rather than the person in the lead.

"I am really happy about that and it adds to the prestige of the win but I take the satisfaction from reading the situation. If it was anybody else and I would be just as happy to do it.

"I could see how things were developing during the round and when Shingo made a double bogey on the eighth hole that it really changed Tiger's mindset from then on.

"He had holed a few putts early on so he was really exceptionally confident about his own game. But once Shingo made a double bogey and gave him a three shot lead I could see an opportunity that I could make the birdies and come back into it."

Harrington will have a week off this week before a three-week stretch that will see him play the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa followed by the Barbados World Cup.

Harrington will then finish off his year with another showdown with Woods in the Target World Challenge in California.

Harrington's 17 professional wins (Margin)

2006 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament (play-off)

2006 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (by 5 shots)

2005 Honda Classic (Play-off), Barclays Classic (PGA Tour 2 shots), Irish PGA (Play-off)

2004 Linde German Masters -13 66-75-64-70 = 275 (3 shots), Irish PGA (1 shot)

2003 Omega Hong Kong Open -11 67-69-67-66 = 269 ( 1 shot)

2003 Deutsche Bank - SAP Open TPC (Playoff: Beat Thomas Bjorn with a par on first extra hole) -19 65-66-70-68 = 269

2002 Target World Challenge -20 (2 shots)

2002 BMW Asian Open -15 66-70-68-69 = 273 (1 shot)

2002 Dunhill Links Championship (Playoff: Beat Eduardo Romero with birdie on second extra hole) -19 66-66-68-69 = 269

2001 Volvo Masters -12 67-71-66 = 204 (1 shot)

2000 BBVA Open Turespana Masters de Madrid -21 67-64-66-70 = 267 (2 shots)

2000 Brazil Sao Paulo 500 years Open -14 69-68-65-68 = 270 (2 shots)

1998 Irish Professional Championship (Play-off)

1996 Spanish Open -16 70-64-67-71 = 272 (4 shots)