Sunday, April 27, 2008

Darren Clarke Wins the Asian Open

I'm a Darren Clarke fan and I could not have been more moved by his singles victory at the last Ryder Cup - even rooting for the Americans. Since losing his wife Heather just two years ago, Clarke has been searching for his game and putting in a lot of time to try to get back to the winner's circle. He did so on Sunday at the European Tour's BMW Asian Open with a 30 foot birdie putt on the last hole.

Clarke, leading Derksen by two with three holes to play, did all he could to throw the tournament away, missing a short par putt on the par-4 16th, then bogeying the par-4 17th to fall back into a tie for first place.

"My mind started going forward probably about 14 onwards. I lost my concentration and started thinking about Heather and the boys [sons Tyrone and Conor] and bits and pieces," Clarke said.

Few would have expected Clarke to make his putt after Derksen ratcheted up the pressure by placing a recovery chip from behind the green to within two feet of the flag.

But the putt dropped where so many shorter ones had missed, leaving the Ulsterman with his arms raised in the air.

"This is the very top. I have been working harder than I have ever worked on all aspects of my game, putting in nine, 10, 11 hours a day and it is nice to see it pay off," said Clarke, who picked up $379,700 in prize money.

Great to hear and I hope this continues for him for the rest of the season. It would be great to see him find his way onto Nick Faldo's team in September.

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