By Bernie McGuire in Rabat
Last Updated: 1:48am GMT 29/10/2007
Open champion Padraig Harrington captured a career-best fourth victory in a year after a nerve-wracking final round at the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco.
Harrington carded a final-round one-over-par 74 on the Royal Golf Dar es-Salam course to finish three strokes clear of fellow Irishman Darren Clarke, with Yorkshireman Simon Dyson next best a further two shots behind.
Despite starting six shots clear of Clarke, Harrington's 21st career title was not won in a manner he had expected.
After a stalling start, Clarke got to within two strokes of Harrington after his Ryder Cup colleague bogeyed the seventh, eighth and 11th holes, while Clarke birdied eight.
The bogey at 11 jolted Harrington into life and he fought back to hit a superb five-wood to 10 feet at the 12th for birdie. A second birdie of the round followed at the 15th and despite a bogey at 16, Harrington wrapped up his first victory since the Open Championship at Carnoustie with a birdie at the last.
"I feel very good to have won but it's a different sort of emotion when you are leading and you are kind of expected to win," said Harrington, who earned a first-prize cheque of £73,000 and a ceremonial dagger after his first victory in Africa.
Harrington now heads to the Spanish Costa del Sol in the best possible form as he seeks to retain his European No 1 crown at this week's season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama.
"You can't beat a win and I'm looking forward to getting out there later this week," he added. "I know that either Justin [Rose] or myself need to finish top-three and whoever manages that will be European No 1. But it's nice now to be added to the honour roll of champions and I'm really pleased to win on the African continent as I haven't done that before. It just the Australian continent [left] so we'll see, but for the time being it's only to Valderrama where I have another important task."
While Harrington heads to Spain, Clarke is leaving London today bound for the Singapore Open and delighted to bounce back to form.
"I really enjoyed the day and especially when I got to within two of Padraig with seven holes but I then hit a poor second shot to 12 whilst he hit a great one and got it back to three," Clarke said.
"I thought at one stage it was game-on but to finish second playing with the Open champion in the last round tells me that I can't be doing all that badly.
"He said it was awkward out there as he was half-pulling for me as well and that was nice, very nice of him. So it's now on to Singapore and I'm looking forward to it, and as I have been saying all year my game is headed in the right direction."
India's Jeev Singh, who will defend his Volvo Masters title this week, should have finished tied third with Dyson but he disqualified himself after handing in his scorecard.
It had come to notice that Singh had hit a shot from the 11th fairway on Saturday whilst playing the 12th hole but had not been informed by his caddie that the 11th was out of bounds.