Dublin: Britain`s Ross Fisher gave his Ryder Cup hopes a timely boost on Sunday when he clinched the Irish Open title.
The 29-year-old Englishman held off a determined challenge by Padraig Harrington with a closing six-under-par 65, two strokes better than the Irish three-times major champion.
With 500,000 points for his first place, Fisher catapulted himself to sixth spot on Europe`s Ryder Cup table of the nine automatic qualifiers.
Harrington twice drew level with Fisher as he delighted the home gallery with a blemish-free final-day 64. However, the Irishman had to settle for a remarkable 26th second place on the European Tour in just less than 15 years.
Fisher began the day with a narrow one-shot advantage and that was soon wiped out. A 15ft eagle putt on the seventh calmed any nerves, though, and he was two ahead by the turn.
Harrington, himself looking to force his way into Europe`s top nine after a winless two years, stayed on Fisher`s shoulder and a mere nine foot eagle putt on the long 16th put the pair briefly level again.
Fisher was not to be denied, however, and birdies on the 15th and 16th earned him his fourth European Tour title.
It also saw him leap seven places on the Ryder Cup table with a maximum of four events to come before Europe`s team for Celtic Manor against the U.S. is decided.