Harrington ends 25-year Irish Open wait

Padraig Harrington ended Ireland's 25-year wait for an Irish Open winner and declared: "It's Majors next."

The Dubliner, 35, dramatically beat Welshman Bradley Dredge with a par-five at the first extra hole after the pair had finished locked together on five under par.

Dredge clawed back a four-stroke deficit on the back nine to card a four under par 68 to Harrington's 71 and force a dramatic extra time finish

But he made a mess of the 18th the second time around, plugging his third in the riverbank and then taking three more shots to reach the green.

After two-putting from 25 feet for a winning par , Harrington believes his 18th victory worldwide will stand to him when he goes in search of Major glory.

The Dubliner beamed: "Going out there it was never going to be easy but I felt confident about winning.

"I wished I was going to do it easily but I kind of knew I was going to make it hard.

"This in my mind is an event I would prefer to win over any tournament bar a major. So it's Majors next, no question about it."

Harrington admitted he was nervous than he had been in any Major as he took a three stroke lead over Dredge and Simon Wakefield into the final round.

A back-nine birdie barrage by Dredge almost ruined a dream afternoon for the Dubliner, who saw his lead disappear when bogeyed the 17th and Dredge fired a wedge to just two feet for birdie.

But he kept his emotions in check to come through in the play-off and now has a chance of earning a juicy €1 million bonus if he can win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week.

He said: "He certainly put the pressure on me to do the job at the end. He hit in close on 17 and put the pressure on me to hit it close as well and I didn't.

"When I went to 18 I said to myself in my head that I was still going to win. I hadn't lost the tournament."

As for the play-off, Harrington admitted that he was lucky to stop short of the hazard with his lay up after watching Dredge's attempt run through into trouble.

And he paid tribute afterwards to the thousands of Irish fans who cheered him to victory adding: "When Munster play rugby they are known for having the best support in the world and those same fans turned out today.

"They gave me second to none support and definitely gave me a boost when things weren't going so well.

"It was a tremendous day for me to have that support and the people of Limerick should be proud of their turnout."

As for his chances of pocketing a €1 million bonus if he can win next week's BMW PGA at Wentworth, Harrington is not so sure.

On a course where he struggles putt well, he said: "I couldn't be favoured at Wentworth. I am the only one with a chance of winning a million euro. But I just wish it was somewhere else.

"I love it tee to green. Everything set up for me this week but next week is tougher for me.

"This week took a lot out of me and while I don't know how I am going to feel this has been a stressful day and I'm going to be flat, no question about it."