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Aggressive approach helps Pavan hold off a resurgent Harrington

Padraig Harrington missed out on the Czech Masters title.
Padraig Harrington missed out on the Czech Masters title.
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Italy’s Andrea Pavan celebrated the imminent arrival of his second child by winning his first European Tour title after coming out on top in a final-round duel with three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

Pavan carded a closing 67 in the D+D Real Czech Masters to finish two shots ahead of playing partner Harrington on 22 under par, with Malaysia’s Gavin Green three strokes further back in third.

Harrington looked on course for a 16th European Tour win when he led by three shots at the turn and was still two clear with five to play but the 46-year-old bogeyed the 15th while Pavan reeled off three birdies in the space of four holes in a brilliant back nine of 31 at Albatross Golf Resort.

“I can’t believe it to be honest,” said Pavan. “Coming down the back nine trailing Padraig since the beginning, he was playing really well and not making any mistakes and I just knew I needed to stay aggressive and it was amazing to finish this way.

“To birdie 16 and 17 was unreal. You know when you go against such a great player that you have to stay aggressive and that was my mentality today.

“This week everything seemed to work – my driving has been a struggle for years and this year I found a new driver in Australia and it seemed to be working much better. Even if this week it wasn’t key, the putting the first three days was unbelievable.

“I’m going back home tomorrow and we’re having a second baby, a little girl is coming on Wednesday. We’re really excited about that and I can’t wait to celebrate with my family.”

Harrington and Pavan shared a three-shot lead heading into the final round and Harrington birdied the first, sixth and ninth to move three in front before Pavan hit back with birdies on the 10th and 12th.

Seeking a first win since 2016 just days after losing his PGA Tour card, Harrington almost made a hole-in-one during his round.

“It was a good contest, no doubt about it,” said Harrington. “I obviously don’t feel like I lost it, Andrea won it for sure. He played great coming home.”