Clarke warms up for US Open with cruise in the rain - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Clarke warms up for US Open with cruise in the rain

In Shakespeare's county As You Like It should be the preferred reference work for Darren Clarke. He likes the Forest of Arden very much indeed. A man for all seasons he might have felt he was walking on water yesterday as he secured victory in the English Open, leading from beginning to end.

They battened down the hatches and sailed through an unseasonal squall which, had this not been the final round, would have caused play to be suspended. They needed a wetsuit and a barometer as well as a compass to negotiate their way around here and in the end Clarke emerged, once again, as head forester.

In recording his ninth victory on the European Tour, the Irishman became the first player to win the English Open three times – not quite covering all points of the compass – scoring a 68 in the final round for a 17-under-par total of 271 and that was too good for the best of the rest. It was Clarke's first win of the season, he pocketed £133,000 and the timing of the victory was sweet. Today he flies to New York to prepare for this week's US Open at Bethpage State Park, a pay-and-play course where the players will only be required to play.

Clarke will partner Tiger Woods in the first two rounds, an appointment which does not bother him one bit. Yesterday Clarke was paired with the Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin and the duo, the overnight leaders at 13-under, traded blow for blow over the opening four holes.

When Jacquelin, the runner-up here last year, made a bogey at the short fifth, Clarke put clear drizzle between himself and the field. He had birdies at the sixth and the seventh and obliterated a dropped shot at the ninth with an eagle at the 12th. Game over.

A bogey at the ninth, a par four of 476 yards, was almost obligatory, the hole being virtually unreachable in two. Everybody on the leaderboard scored a five or worse there, including Soren Hansen.

One stroke behind the leaders after the third round, the Dane blew hot and cold, producing birdies and bogeys almost in equal measure. However, Hansen finished in style with birdies at the last three holes, a 70 putting him at 14-under and in second place, three strokes behind Clarke and two in front of Jacquelin and the Welshman Phillip Price. Steve Webster, Hansen's playing partner, took four putts at the par-three eighth and never recovered. When you are looking at a putt for a birdie two and you finish with a five, it makes a hard day worse.

The sponsors may not commit themselves to another term which leaves a question mark over the English Open. "It's a good tournament at a delightful venue but where are the crowds?'' a spokesman said. He might have added: "Where are the players?" Being staged a week before the US Open is not a date to attract the crème de la crème and there is the little matter of the World Cup, not to mention the weather. No wonder Compass are taking a raincheck.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones