Darren Clarke is the only Irishman in the field as the PGA Champions Tour rolls up to TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia for the Mitsubishi Electric Classic.
The reigning Senior Open Champion has had a mixed start to the season, opening 2023 with a runner-up finish at this week’s title sponsor’s previous event in Hualalai, before following up with another top-10 finish at the Hoag Classic in mid-March.
Since then, he’s struggled for consistency, with one of the three rounds typically doing the damage. That was also the case here last year when he opened with a round of 79, before responding magnificently with a 69 and a round of the week equalling 64 to close out the week tied for 14th.
Bernhard Langer will also tee it up as the German’s quest for a record-setting 46th Champions Tour victory enters its fifth leg. Currently tied with Hale Irwin on 45, his best chance so far came at the Hoag Classic when he shot his age or better for the ninth time on the Champions circuit, his opening 64 helping him to a one-stroke lead going into the final round, before an uncharacteristically sloppy two-over 73 saw him drop to T7 by tournament’s end.
Joining Clarke and Langer is defending champion Steve Flesch and a host of major champions, including Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh and José Maria Olazábal, with senior major winners Steve Stricker, Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Alex Cejka also among the 78-strong field.
Despite finishing runner-up to Flesch in last year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship, Padraig Harrington has elected not to play as he gears up for the PGA Championship at New York’s Oak Hill in a fortnight’s time.
Clarke will play alongside Vijay Singh and K.J. Choi in the opening round, and they’re due to tee off at 16:45 Irish time.
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