England’s Ross Fisher won the 3 Irish Open at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club by two shots from home favourite Padraig Harrington. The victory has lifted him into an automatic qualifying spot for the European Ryder Cup team.
Fisher fired a sensational 61 on day two and, despite a third round score that was 10 shots worse, he took a one shot lead over fellow Englishman Chris Wood into the final day.
Sunday saw great scoring across the board and, from an early stage, it was clear Fisher would have to be at the top of his game to hold off the chasing pack.
Early in the afternoon, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay posted an excellent closing round of 64 to finish on a total of nine-under-par. Ramsay’s 64 wasn’t matched until Padraig Harrington produced a storming finish that included a birdie and an eagle at the 15th then 16th.
The Irishman set a challenging 16-under-par target for Fisher. But the Englishman was up to the task. He made birdies of his own at the 15th and 16th and followed those with two pars to close with a 65 and take the title plus the winner’s cheque for €500,000.
“It just feels great to come out on top against such a world-class field,” said Fisher. “I could hear the roars and knew Padraig was making a charge. I just
tried to stay patient and this is what we play for – we want to give
ourselves a chance and I am no different.”
The victory has lifted Fisher from 13th to sixth on the Ryder Cup points list and there was further good news for Colin Montgomerie as Padraig Harrington climbed to 10th spot. With two big weeks ahead (the WGC at Firestone and the USPGA Championship,) the Irishman could well play himself into the side automatically.
For Fisher, it was a fourth European Tour victory and his first since the 2009 Volvo Matchplay Championship. He has now won a tournament on the European Tour in each of the last four seasons.
Chris Wood ended the week in Killarney on 14-under-par in a tie for third with Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.