Harrington gets high on Extreme tee

Limpopo - British Open champion Padraig Harrington has become the first professional golfer to conquer the world's most amazing par-three.

The Irish star took a helicopter to the top of Hanglip Mountain at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort on the Big 5 Entabeni Safari Conservancy in Limpopo for the challenge of the Extreme 19th.

There, he hit driver to the green the shape of Africa some 400m below.

After hitting four practice balls, Harrington smashed his competition ball into the bunker surrounding the green before flying back down and splashing out to just 18 inches and holing the putt for the first par by a professional on the hole.

Harrington said the Extreme 19th is one of the most amazing holes he has played.

"This is golf in 2010, this is the type of innovation and excitement we need to get more people playing. There aren't many innovative ways to play the game, but this is certainly one of the best.

"And now I've got bragging rights over all the other pro-fessionals who have played this and not managed to make a three. I love everything about it."

Harrington is the ninth of the 18 designers from the unique Signature Course at Legend Golf & Safari Resort to play the Extreme 19th. The course was designed by some of the world's best golfers, with each designing a hole.

They include Trevor Immelman, Sergio Garcia, Bernard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Justin Rose, Vijay Singh, KJ Choi and Retief Goosen.

Harrington is the first to conquer the Extreme 19th with a par-three.

After hitting four practice balls to judge the distance and wind, one of which he hit to just five feet from the pin, he was a little disappointed when his chosen competition ball took a slight gust of wind as it travelled the 25-second hang time before landing off the horn of Africa in the sand.

But after pacing the 35 yards to the pin, he played a wonderful shot before placing and cleaning his ball and sinking the short putt with a steely determination that has seen him win three Majors.

Afterwards, Harrington suggested the Extreme 19th would make a great playoff hole or even a hole for a special made-for-TV event.

"I think this hole is awesome! I love the whole experience - the helicopter, the views, the drama, the green the shape of Africa," he said.

"The whole concept is fantastic and I'm looking forward to coming back and taking on the challenge of the Extreme 19th again."

The Signature Course is due to open for play in March, but the challenge of the Extreme 19th is one you can take now at Legend Golf & Safari Resort.

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