Clarke claims win number three at Sanford International

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Clarke claims win number three at Sanford International

Darren Clarke makes it three wins for the season in 2021 (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Darren Clarke beat KJ Choi and Steve Flesch in a playoff to claim his third PGA Tour Champions title of the season at the Sanford International on Sunday

The 53-year old fired a final round five-under par 65 to tie Choi and Flesch at 12-under par at the conclusion of regulation play before a birdie on the second playoff hole got the Dungannon man’s hands on the title at Minnehaha Country Club.

“It’s nice to get back in the winner’s circle again,” Clarke said. “In the playoff you never know what’s going to happen, anybody can make birdie and luckily it was my day today.”

Clarke won the TimberTech Championship in November for his first PGA TOUR Champions title and took the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in January on his next start.

“Yeah, it’s been incredible,” Clarke admitted.

“It was nice to get my breakthrough win in Boca last year and then the Tournament of Champions, and to win again, I’ve been working so hard. I had a chance at the one that I really, really wanted in the middle of the summer there, the British Senior Open, and I had a chance there, didn’t quite get it done.

“It’s nice then to come along to win again. I have two weeks off down in Abaco, down home. Sit in front of my TV, I’ll watch every shot of the Ryder Cup, I’ll really enjoy it, and I may have a beer or two to go along with it.”

Asked if he’d just be having two, Clarke joked, “probably 10”, before paying tribute to the fans who were very much behind him in the playoff.

“They’ve been very good to me,” he said. “As I said there in my speech, you know, I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Sioux Falls. The fans have been brilliant. I’ve had maybe a little beverage with one or two of them in the past, so it’s been nice to have that atmosphere and that support, it’s always wonderful.”

With Choi and Flesch sharing second, Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 2020 winner, was two strokes back along with Rod Pampling (69). U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker (67) was 9 under. Stricker will lead the United States against Europe this week at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Retief Goosen (69) was 8 under with Alex Cejka (71), John Senden (65) and Steven Alker (67).

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