Harrington bows out early as Taylor holds off erratic Mickelson
Phil Mickelson laments his 72nd hole lip out at Pebble Beach

Phil Mickelson laments his 72nd hole lip out at Pebble Beach

Pádraig Harrington tied with world No 1 Jordan Spieth on seven under in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. It wasn’t good news as they tied for 21st, 10 shots behind the winner Vaughn Taylor.

World No 1 Spieth closed with a six under 66 to turn a poor week into a more acceptable one, even if it did bring a worldwide run of seven successive Top 10s to an end. But in Harrington’s case, he had to cover his last 10 holes in one under just to post a two over 74.

The good news, unless you are a Phil Mickelson fan, was for 2006 Ryder Cup player Taylor won for the first time in more than a decade after a series of health and golf related problems that saw him lose his card in 2012.

Not that any of this meant much to Harrington, who into the final round tied for 11th on nine under, seven shots behind his good pal, and eventual runner-up, Mickelson.

After a three-putt bogey from 53 feet at the first, the 44-year old Dubliner birdied the second and parred the third but then made four bogeys (and a birdie) in his next five holes to kiss a second Top 10 of the season goodbye.

He’ll tell your he no longer plays for Top 10 finishes, of course, but in terms of momentum going to Riviera for the Northern Trust Open this week, he got precious little.

Admittedly, he said on Friday that he was out of sorts with his swing and merely plotting his away around. And after hitting just nine greens in regulation on Sunday, he was far from confident considering he missed only four of 14 fairways.

He wasn’t the only one disappointed on Sunday night.

Vaughn Taylor with his family and friends at the moment of victory

Vaughn Taylor with his family and friends at the moment of victory

Mickelson led by two overnight but like Harrington, a poor start proved costly. After bogeys at the fourth and fifth, he had three birdies and three bogeys in the next eight holes and found himself trailing. After a bogey six at the 14th, where he laid up but bunkered his third, he needed a special finish to catch the clubhouse leader.

Taylor, who hasn’t had a full PGA Tour card for the last the three years, birdied four holes in a row from the 13th for a seven under 65 to set the target at 17 under.

Swede Jonas Blixt had passed Mickelson earlier in the day but faded after a bogey at the 14th. That left Mickelson needing two closing birdies to force a playoff but having rolled in a 13 footer from the back of the 17th to give himself a chance, the veteran lipped out from five feet for another at the 18th.

As the ball spun out on the left lip, the Californian slumped over his putter, hand on knee, like an old man hunched over a walking stick.

Mickelson had hit a hybrid just short of the 18th green but with 20 yards to the pin, he came up a good five feet short and lipped out on the left edge.

“It never crossed my mind that one on 18 wouldn’t go in,” Mickelson said after a 72.

The left-hander hasn’t won since he claimed the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield but while winning (he has 42 PGA Tour wins) no longer comes easy, he’s still got more days of glory left in his locker.

"It's been a long time. I didn't think it was going to happen," Taylor said. "I worked so hard. I kept getting knocked down, knocked down. I'm just at a loss for words."

Harrington is also capable of producing great golf but in an age when he admits that nothing less than a player’s A game will do, victories are hard to come by.

Shane Lowry joins Harrington and Rory McIlroy at Riviera looking to regain the feelings he had in Phoenix.

A closing 71 gave Lowry a share of 41st on two under and a cheque for $22,652 as Harrington had to console himself with $72,800.