Clarke four back of history chasing Langer at Hoag Classic

Ronan MacNamara

Darren Clarke (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Darren Clarke birdied two of his last three holes to move to within four shots of record chasing Bernhard Langer at the Hoag Classic on the PGA Tour Champions.

Clarke shares seventh place on eight-under-par courtesy of birdies on 16 and 18 which helped him sign for a three-under 68.

It was a slow start for the 2011 Open champion who dropped shots at 3 and 5 having opened with a birdie.

The Dungannon native looked to have regained some momentum with back-to-back birdies on 7 and 8 but seven successive pars saw him lose ground on the lead before he clawed his way back into the mix.

Pádraig Harrington is three shots further back after a 68 of his own but frustratingly included nine successive pars to close out his second round.

Playing the course from back to front, the Dubliner opened with a brace of birdies before giving one back on the twelfth.

Harrington’s only pars on the front nine came at 13 and 14 before a run of three birdies and a bogey saw him close out a streaky outward half.

Langer stands on the brink of history as he looks to break free from Hale Irwin and emerge on his own with a record-breaking 46th PGA Tour Champions victory on Sunday.

The German shot a five-under 66 to edge one a head of Doug Barron and Miguel Ángel Jimenez on twelve-under-par.

A sensational run of birdie, eagle, par, birdie, birdie saw the two-time Masters winner come home in just 31 shots.

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