Athletes In The Zone
How I beat Padraig Harrington a 3 Times Major Winner by Dean Robertson
Updated: Mar 25, 2022
I was a shot behind Padraig Harrington with one round to play. We were last out in the final round and I played fantastic. I was in my zone big-time and I had made a host of birdies. I stood on the tee at the par three 16th and I had a one-shot lead. I was so pumped up that I thought it was a four-iron, but I decided to hit a five hard. I could feel myself running into the old Wentworth thing, but I managed to focus on the target, simple stuff like that.
I didn’t really know what I was doing. I suppose I was just playing the game I loved without analysing it. Well, I went into a bunker where I had a terrible, plugged lie but I hit an unbelievable shot to four feet and holed it for three. Over the putt I felt great, not like Wentworth, just calm and composed, and, as I’ve already said, I don’t know why. Then, all of a sudden, it happened again on the 17th tee, just like at Wentworth. I can’t explain it.
My practice swing felt great. I picked my spot and just before I hit the ball I asked myself: ‘Now where am I hitting this?’ Well, I hit a big block 70 yards to the right. In fact, it was so far off-line it was OK. I got away with it but there was a panic going through my body. I had a two-shot lead with two holes to go. I kept thinking: let’s bring this thing in, like I was hooking a big fish.
Of course, the worst thing you can ever think of in the world is outcome. Just for a split second I let myself get ahead. ‘Just two holes to go. This is brilliant. I’ve got a bit of a buffer.’ But you can’t relax thinking like that. Somehow, I managed to get tuned in again and focused and I hit a seven iron on to the front of the green. Padraig three-putted, so I had got out of jail and again I started thinking that if I holed my second putt, I’d have three shots to spare. How good is that? I could really savour the moment and enjoy going up the last. So what happened? I missed it.
‘Oh no. Nightmare,’ I thought. I was up and down like a yo-yo but I refocused again and made a good drive. Padraig hit a great second to ten feet. At that point there was so much adrenalin I could hit any club any distance. My caddie gave me a wedge, though we had 148 yards to go. I pulled it slightly and it pitched in the middle of the green but spun back to the front, leaving me a 40-foot putt across a big slope.
Again, I refocused and hit a great putt two feet below the hole. Padraig holed his putt, which I knew he would. The crowd went mental, but it didn’t even register with me. I just walked over, went through my routine and knocked it in. I had stayed in my bubble and I won by one shot.