Hot hand Clarke looking for another strong finish at Ascension Classic

Conor Cantwell

Darren Clarke (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Darren Clarke is in action at the PGA Tour Champions Ascension Classic at the Norwood Hills Country Club this weekend, with play starting tomorrow [Friday] afternoon Irish time.

The par-71 course in St. Louis, Missouri will host the event in its third staging and will bolster a prize purse of $2,000,000, although this is run as a charity event and raised over $1,000,000 for charitable organisations around St. Louis and greater America.

The event sees several major winners take to the field alongside the Tyrone native, who is ranked 15th in the Schwab Cup standings heading into the tournament in Missouri, and is the 10th highest-ranked golfer participating.


Results on the Champions circuit have been varied for Clarke, with a season-opening tie for second his best finish of the season, though he has seven top 10s in 16 starts, with two coming back-to-back in his most recent starts with a T4 at the Shaw Charity Classic followed by a solo seventh at The Ally Challenge.

The 2011 Open Champion will certainly have his eyes on the top spot at the PGA Champions event, especially with Padraig Harrington unavailable to defend his 2022 title due to his appearance at the Irish Open at K Club.

Alongside Clarke in the field of established golfers are the South African duo of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Alex Cejka, former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.

Many tee times stand out for the opening day of play in Missouri, with a number of three-balls looking likely to include players competing at the business end of the tournament.

Darren Clarke gets his opening round underway from the first tee alongside Alex Cejka and American Jerry Kelly (tee-off at 4:32 p.m. GMT.)

The opening group of the day includes the South African pair of Els and Goosen, who are partnered by David Toms (tee-off at 4:10 p.m. from the first tee.)

Colin Montgomerie gets his round underway just before 5 p.m. Irish time alongside Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee and Australian Mark Hensby (tee-off at 4:54 from the first tee.)

Second and third in the Schwab Cup rankings, Stephen Ames and Bernhard Langer, have been grouped together with Justin Leonard along for company in the third group out (tee-off from the first tee at 4:21.)

John Daly leads the all-American three-ball of Tim Herron and Jeff Maggert, with Daly sure to be a massive draw for the fans lining the course in St. Louis (tee off at 4:32 p.m. from the 10th.)


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