Jimenez leads at Cologuard Classic while Clarke’s struggles continue

Adam McKendry

Darren Clarke (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Adam McKendry

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Darren Clarke had another day to forget at the Cologuard Classic on the PGA Tour Champions as he struggled to a three-over 75 in his second round in Tucson, Arizona.

The former Open champion combined three bogeys and a double-bogey with two birdies to leave him seven-over for the tournament and 72nd in a field of 80 heading into Sunday’s final round.

It’s been a tough start to the season for Clarke, who has limped to T14 and T58 finishes in his first two events on the PGA Tour Champions and, barring a much-improved final round, looks set to record his worst finish in Arizona.

The 53-year-old bogeyed his fourth hole of the day, the par-four 13th, and then followed it with a double-bogey at the par-four 18th and another bogey at the par-four first.

Clarke finally got his first birdie of the day when he took advantage of the par-five second and then immediately followed it with another at the par-four third, but he would close his second round with a bogey at the par-five eighth to end on a sour note.

At the top, Miguel Angel Jiménez looks in prime position to pick up a wire-to-wire win as he carded a five-under 67 to reach 11-under for the week, which is two shots clear of Jerry Kelly and Jeff Sluman.

The Spaniard, who had a hole-in-one on Friday, carded seven birdies and two bogeys in his second round to stretch his lead at the Omni Tucson Resort and put him in prime position to claim his second victory of the year in just the third event of the season.

“I just play my game,” said Jiménez. “(Sluman) missed the birdie on the eighth where I made the birdie. That is part of the game, you know.

“Playing very solid like yesterday, playing very well. Now finished with a bogey on the 18th, driver going a little bit too long, finished with a bogey. I’ve been very solid all day, all day long and bogeyed here.

“You are first, (you) feel good, no?”

Kelly and Sluman will have something to say about that, the former carding a five-under 67 and the latter a three-under 69 to reach nine-under and position themselves as Jiménez’s closest challengers, while Gene Sauers and Woody Austin are all at eight-under.

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