Golf: Clarke's switch pays off

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The Independent Online
FOR Darren Clarke, the devil he knew was indeed better yesterday. Despairing of his new clubs, the Irishman arranged for his old set to be sent to Munich and equalled the Nord-Eichenried course record of 62 with them to open a two-shot lead at the half-way stage of the BMW International Open.

Remarkably, Denmark's Steen Tinning, who made a 7.30am start from the first as Clarke was teeing off at the 10th, also returned a 62 to share second place with Colin Montgomerie.

Clarke was reunited with his usual clubs in practice this week. 'I tried the new ones in Sweden last week and it was hopeless,' he said after his 10-birdie round. 'I arranged for a courier to get the old set from Dublin to Manchester Airport where a caddie picked them up and brought them to Munich. Including a few 'bungs' here and there it cost me pounds 250.'

He will not miss that outlay if he collects the pounds 83,000 first prize on Sunday. But he faces strong pressure from Montgomerie, who added a 67 to his first-round 65, and Tinning, who spoiled a round including eight birdies and two eagles with a double-bogey six.

The cut came at a record low score of 139, five under par, leaving the US Open champion, Payne Stewart, out in the cold. Paul Azinger, who used new wedges because his usual ones are illegal in Europe, carried the American flag at 11 under par, three strokes off the pace, alongside David Feherty.

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