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Padraig Harrington
Along with his 8 on the eighth hole Sunday, Padraig Harrington had a few near-misses on the greens.

Second straight Sunday 8 dashes Harrington's hopes

Almost unbelievably, Padraig Harrington made an 8 on a hole for the second Sunday in a row. Eve with the quintuple bogey, though, the defending champ thought he still had a chance on the back nine.

By Craig Dolch, Special to PGA.com

CHASKA, Minn. -- No golfer has a snowman’s chance of winning when he writes an 8 on his scorecard.

Just Padraig Harrington.

For the second consecutive week, Harrington’s chances of winning a golf tournament ended when he made an 8 -- otherwise known as a snowman -- on a hole.

It happened at last week’s world Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational when he saw a one-shot lead against Tiger Woods turn into a three-shot deficit.

And it happened again Sunday. Harrington was one shot behind Woods in the PGA Championship when he hit two balls in the water and staggered off Hazeltine’s par-3 eighth hole after a quintuple-bogey 8 and no chance at defending his PGA title. He tumbled to 12th place on the leader board and never threatened, finishing tied for 10th, eight shots behind surprise winner Y.E. Yang.

“It wasn't anybody else. It's all me,” Harrington said after a 78. “It was unusual. I wasn't out of position hardly at all today bar that one hole.”

Harrington’s troubles started when his tee shot at the tough eighth -- the third-hardest hole of the day, with a stroke overage of 3.41 -- just missed the green to the right, landing in the water. He went to the drop area and hooked his shot left of the green, nearly beaning playing partner Henrik Stenson.

Then, in a shot reminiscent of his too-hard wedge at Firestone that sailed over the green into the water, Harrington chipped his ball way over the eighth green. He dropped again and, hitting his fifth shot, chunked his next chip in the water. He then got up and down for the 8.

“It was a difficult tee shot and it was obviously a difficult second shot after you hit it in the water and (I) pulled it left,” he said. “I had been changing my chipping action a little, and I probably was more into what I was doing rather than trying to get the ball up and down, and you know, I hit a bad shot. So these things happen.”

Despite the huge number, Harrington insisted he wasn’t out of the tournament. He birdied the 11th, but finished with two bogeys.

“I had chances all the way through the back nine and I definitely could have got it back to 6 under par,” Harrington said. “Obviously, it's not going to be good enough now and I'm very happy that 7 (under) or 8 is going to win. That cheers me up.”

Harrington said he has no second thoughts on how he played the eighth hole so aggressively. Even if it did cost him a chance at his fourth major title in his last 11 tries.

“I didn't feel like I could afford to make bogey by hitting, left like most people,” he said. “I decided I've got to hit the shot, it didn't come off there and I think I've been proved right. It wasn't a day that I could give up a shot by hitting in the left-hand traps, and such is life. Some days they don't come off, some days they do.”
 

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