Golf: Clarke pushes Langer

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The Independent Online
BERNHARD LANGER withstood a courageous challenge from the Irishman Darren Clarke yesterday as he won the Honda Open at Gut Kaden in Hamburg to capture his seventh title on home soil.

The key moment of the final round came at the 235-yard 14th where Langer, who had established a three-shot lead at the half-way, missed the green and holed his 18-yard chip for a two. Clarke responded by chipping to five feet for a birdie at the next. However, the world's No 3 dug into his reserves and finished with two birdies to win with a 15-under-par 273.

Both Clarke and Langer returned closing 69s while England's Roger Chapman also finished strongly with a last round 69 to take third place on 278.

It was Langer's second win of the year and his 27th in Europe. 'That was the first time I've played with Darren,' he said. 'He is a wonderful player. He hits the ball well and has a good touch on the greens. I wouldn't be surprised to see him winning a tournament soon.'

Clarke, 26, picked up a career-best pounds 50,000 and a guaranteed place in the Volvo Masters at the end of the season.

'I'm getting closer,' he said, referring to a couple of fourth place finishes this season. 'I hung in there and did what I had to do. I got myself in a position to win and didn't back off.'

Victory for Langer lifted the 35-year-old into second place behind Nick Faldo in the Volvo Order of Merit with pounds 397,777 and second in the Ryder Cup points list with pounds 138,807.

HONDA OPEN (Hamburg) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 273 B Langer (Ger) 69 65 70 69. 276 D Clarke 71 69 67 69. 278 R Chapman 72 65 72 69. 279 R Claydon 68 77 68 66. 280 M Roe 70 71 70 69; F Couples (US) 69 70 70 71. 281 S Struver (Ger) 74 72 71 64; E Els (SA) 71 70 71 69; W Westner (SA) 72 70 66 73. 282 G J Brand 70 69 74 69; B Malley (US) 68 70 72 72; J Parnevik (Swe) 71 71 69 71. 283 D Mijovic (Can) 72 72 71 68; P Mitchell 70 70 73 70; P Broadhurst 73 69 70 71. 284 J McHenry 73 71 72 68; M Poxon 71 74 71 68; M Lanner (Swe) 74 70 71 69; K Waters 75 71 68 70; D Gilford 74 70 69 71; G Brand Jnr 72 71 68 73; Y Kuramoto (Japan) 70 73 67 74. 285 H P Thul (Ger) 72 72 73 68; J Rystrom (Swe) 71 71 74 69; T Charnley 72 73 71 69; C Williams 75 70 68 72; G Ralph 71 72 69 73; P Curry 70 74 68 73; I Palmer (SA) 72 69 70 74. 286 M James 75 70 74 67; S Tinning (Den) 76 70 71 69; M Hallberg (Swe) 71 72 72 71; S McAllister 73 70 70 73. 287 E O'Connell 72 74 74 67; J Payne 74 72 71 70; A Binaghi (It) 71 76 70 70; J Quiros (Sp) 71 72 73 71; A Murray 73 71 71 72; P Fowler (Aus) 69 72 74 72. 288 P Lonard (Aus) 73 71 76 68; E Darcy 73 73 74 68; T Geogele (Ger) 74 72 73 69; P Way 72 73 73 70; M McLean 77 67 73 71; R Boxall 72 72 73 71; N Briggs 74 73 70 71; J Haeggman (Swe) 75 71 70 72; S Torrance 71 75 69 73; P Smith 72 71 70 75.

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