Clarke Seals Emotional Win

Mon 18 Jul 2011

Clarke Seals Emotional Win

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Sandwich, United Kingdom July 17: Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke completed one of the most endearing comebacks in the history of golf when carded a final round even-par 70 for a five-under-par 275 total to win the British Open on Sunday.
American duo Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson gave Clarke a stiff challenge but had to settle for a share of second place, three back from the Northern Irishman on 278 at the year’s third Major.
Clarke was always going to be the crowd favourite to lift the Claret Jug when he took over the lead from Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and England’s Tom Lewis after the second round.
Since helping Europe to a victory at the Ryder Cup in 2006 only six weeks after losing his wife to cancer, Clarke had to endure lean years of late and only recently manage to end his three-year title drought in Spain two months ago.
“Bad times in golf are more frequent than the good times. I’ve always been hard on myself when I fail because I don’t find it very easy to accept that,” said Clarke, who totalled five-under-par 275.
“There’s obviously somebody who is watching down on me from above and I know she would be very proud of me. It has been a long journey to get here but I made it here in the end. I gone out there today and did my best and my best was good enough to win,” added Clarke.
The 42-year-old Ulsterman, who was bidding to win a Major for the first time in his 20th appearance at the British Open, held his own despite the challenges of Mickelson and Johnson at Royal St. George’s.
“I got a couple of good breaks that went my way. Although I got enough shots, I did not take anything for granted until I went up to the 18th green. I played the last two holes pretty smartly and it was good enough for me to win,” said Clarke who marked his card with three bogeys, one birdie and an eagle.
Mickelson made an impressive charge on the front-nine when he birdied the second, fourth and the sixth holes to bring him within two shots of the lead.
The four-time Major winner briefly shared the lead with Clarke at five-under par after an eagle-three at the seventh.
However, Clarke’s lead was quickly extended by two when he matched the American with an eagle of his own.
Mickelson’s challenge began to fade away after he lost focus and bogeyed holes 11, 13, 15 and 16.
“When I saw Darren didn’t make any mistakes throughout the round, I knew that I had to start trying to make birdies and that’s when I ended up making a couple of bogeys there,” said Mickelson, who finished in the top 10 only once and has had only five finishes inside the top 25 in 17 British Open appearances.
Johnson then stepped up to the challenge and moved within two shots of Clarke after 12 holes with birdies on holes 10 and 12.
However, when he double-bogeyed the par-five 14th and bogeyed his closing 18th, it virtually sealed the win for Clarke.
“It was brutal out there. I hung in there all day, made some birdies but unfortunately made the double bogey on the 14th, which really just took out all my momentum,” said Johnson.
Ends.
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As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Royal Selangor (Official Trophy Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Mobile) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.