Clarke cashes in as Evans loses the plot

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The Independent Online
Craig Evans, the Welsh champion who broke Royal Lytham's amateur course record with a 66 four weeks ago, slumped to an 86 yesterday at Royal Liverpool and crashed out of the Amateur Championship.

In a serious blow to his hopes of a Walker Cup debut on home turf at Porthcawl in September, the West Monmouthshire player, who ran up quadruple bogey eights at both the 392-yard ninth and 455-yard 12th, finished the 36-hole preliminary stage with a 20-over-par total of 164.

That left him a massive 25 strokes behind the leading qualifier, Pinner's Gary Clarke, whose rounds of 69 at Wallasey and then 70 at Hoylake represented probably the best golf of his career so far.

Clarke, a product of the same American college which John Daly attended, birdied three of the last six holes to take top place. "I know it counts for nothing tomorrow, but at least I enter the matchplay with my confidence really high," the 24-year-old said.

In the last of Clarke's five years at the University of Arkansas, Daly, banned from the United States tour at the time, returned as an unpaid assistant coach. "He was a really nice guy," the Middlesex player recalled. "I played nine holes with him, but I couldn't really learn anything. He just hits it miles."

Still to be capped by England, Clarke won April's West of England title and was joint sixth in the Brabazon Trophy last month.

Scores, Sporting Digest, page 39