Clarke trails Singh and Alker by six

Ronan MacNamara
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Darren Clarke (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Darren Clarke opened his PGA TOUR Champions season with a steady one-under 71 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

It leaves the 2011 Open champion in a share of 30th place, six shots off the pace set by Vijay Singh and Steven Alker.

Singh was in sensational form, carding five birdies and an eagle on his way to a flawless 65. The Fijian started fast with two birdies and an eagle in his first five holes.

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“I drove the ball well and it played a lot easier than it did the pro-am in the practice days. No wind, literally no wind our back nine. It was gettable. The pins were not super hard and par 5s were all reachable. If you played half decent and made a couple of putts, you know, the score’s out there.”

Former Schwab Cup winner, Alker, finished strongly with four successive closing birdies to join Singh at the top and one shot clear of KJ Choi, Brett Quigley, Ernie Els and Steve Stricker.

“Yeah, that was nice. Didn’t have a lot of momentum on the round, kind of middle of the round. Nice start and then just kicked on. I was hitting the ball well, I knew I was playing well and feeling good. I just hit it close coming in. Yeah, it was pleasing to finish that way. Make dinner taste a little bit better.”

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