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Stewart Cink felt sure that Padraig Harrington would convert his up-and-down on the 72nd hole. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Stewart Cink felt sure that Padraig Harrington would convert his up-and-down on the 72nd hole. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Playing partner Cink offers his praise for Harrington

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Playing alongside Padraig Harrington Sunday, Stewart Cink couldn't believe what he saw on the 18th hole. Yet even after Harrington's two trips into the water, Cink said he had no doubt the Irishman would make the best of his bad situation.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (PA) -- Playing partner Stewart Cink paid tribute to Padraig Harrington after the Irishman recovered from a double-bogey 6 at the 72nd hole on Sunday to win the Open Championship after a four-hole playoff against Sergio Garcia.

The American could only stand alongside and watch as the Irish Ryder Cup star pushed his drive into the Barry Burn at the 18th and, after a penalty drop, then hit it in the water again in front of the green.

It was almost a carbon copy of the last time the Open came to Carnoustie eight years ago when Jean Van De Velde, needing a double-bogey 6 to win, made 7 after going in the burn and lost a playoff to Paul Lawrie.

Harrington escaped with a 6 and, after Garcia bogeyed the last, the pair went to extra holes. Harrington holed an eight-foot birdie putt at the first and Garcia bogeyed from a greenside bunker to take a two-shot lead that ultimately proved enough.

Cink, who finished tied for sixth on 4-under 280, could not believe what he saw at the 18th in regulation play.

"It is almost mind-numbing to think the guy leading the Open Championship can come to that hole and make a mess of it two championships in a row at this site," he said.

"He played a great round of golf, but the 18th hole has so much danger. It is everywhere. He just hit a crooked tee ball into the burn and then there is so much up there -- the burn, out of bounds.

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"It is unfortunate it came down the last hole. I really like Padraig Harrington, he is a great guy and it hurts a little bit that you can see that happening," he added. "There was never a doubt he would make up and down for a 6, but I think his score on the 18th hole had nothing to do with the thought processes of the previous one (Van de Velde)."

Cink also had words of comfort and encouragement for Harrington as they sat signing their scorecards.

"All I told him was I hope that is enough and good luck and I enjoyed playing with him," added Cink.

"He didn't need me to tell him to keep his chin up," he said. "He didn't need me to tell him he played really well until that hole."

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