Darren Clarke captured a top-20 finish as a popular winner in Ernie Els filed his first victory on the PGA Tour Champions at the Hoag Classic on Sunday.
2011 Champion Golf of the Year Clarke has been a consistent performer thus far in 2020, clocking four top-25 finishes from four starts as he chases a maiden title on the Senior circuit.
It wasn’t to be this week for the Northern Irishman but rounds of 69 and 67 over the weekend saw him return a six-under par 54-hole tally around Newport Beach Country Club as Clarke banked another significant cheque worth $23,190.
That’s $98,439 banked from four events so far this term and moved Clarke to 24th on the Charles Schwab money-list where Bernhard Langer leads with $528,137 from five events played.
Up to third on that list is the ever-popular, 50-year-old Hall of Famer, Els who closed with a four-under par 67, including an up and down from the greenside bunker at the last, to finish at 16-under, two clear of Fred Couples, Robert Karlsson and Glen Day.
“It was pretty tight,” Els said. “I felt a little uncomfortable on the greens. I didn’t have that free-flowing feeling, I had to work hard for it and that’s a good thing to do, to work hard for something.
“You don’t want something falling in your lap. I’m glad the first one’s over with and we can move on now and it gets more comfortable after this.”
Els, who lost a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez on debut in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii, was delighted to get this opportunity over the line.
“After being in a playoff in Hawaii, coming close to winning there, I didn’t want to mess this one up,” Els added. “I had a great opportunity and I wanted to try and take that.”
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