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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders