Talk about the one that got away. 

Padraig Harrington had a one stroke lead as he headed down the stretch in the Deutsche Bank Championship. He finished birdie-birdie. He shot 68. He totalled 15 under. His short game was amazing. But he didn't win.

In the end, he finished up two shots behind Steve Stricker, the new leader of the FedEx Cup standings.

"There were a lot of Irish people here, and they came out and supported me today," Harrington said. "They would have liked to see me deliver. Unfortunately I didn't."

Why didn't he win?

After a week of unbelievable scrambling, the Dubliner was undone by two bad drives that were like flashbacks to the seven months of hell that have preceded his recent purple patch. After four birdies in his first seven holes, he tried to put his foot down heading down the back nine and careered off the road into the trees. Twice

The first mistake, at the 10th, cost him a bogey. The next one cost him a double and effectively ended his chances of winning the title.

Of course, Harrington rallied with a birdie at the 17th and then set up an eagle chance at the last that would have given him a chance of a play-off had Stricker not birdied the 18th to edge out Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank by a shot on 17 under. 

It was a good week for Harrington but it also showed that he is not  the kind of guy who gets in front and just pulls away, leaving the rest spluttering in the exhaust fumes. The kind of guy that Tiger Woods has been for his entire career.

Harrington is more comfortably  coming from behind - as he showed at Carnoustie or at Oakland Hills. Even at Royal Birkdale last year, he had to fall behind before finding a way to come bursting through on the back nine.

In Boston last night, he confessed: "I seem to be a little bit better when I'm chasing, and I was happy that I hit a few good shots coming down (the stretch). I hit two beauties down the last to give myself a great chance of possibly a playoff."

Then he added: "I'm disappointed with today's because it was in my control. I was leading the tournament, and going into the back nine it was mine to lose, and I lost it, if 16-under par is the mark. It was tough out there, and it's always tougher on a golf course, on a firm and fast course where you get a little bit protective. 
But I just didn't -- I'll feel this one a lot more than say some of the others because of the fact that it was mine for the winning."

Harrington will be relieved that Stricker got to 17 under par. He'll tell himself that the most important thing is that he was there at the end, that he had a chance and that he had a putt that mattered on the 18th green.

But he knows he failed to deliver the complete package that the FedEx Cup required. Stricker, on the other hand, came up with the answers again and again.

Harrington has another chance on Chicago this week. Up to 7th in the standings, he can still win the $10m treasure trove on offer for the man who delivers in Atlanta at the Tour Championship.