Late bogeys prove costly for Clarke in Wisconsin

Mark McGowan

Darren Clarke (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Darren Clarke was left to rue two late bogeys which saw him give up a chance for a share of the first round lead at the Champions Tour’s American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge GC in Wisconsin.

Winds gusting over 30 mph meant scoring proved difficult and in a rare turn of events for the Champions Tour circuit, just over a third of the field ended day one in red figures. Although the Dungannon man is still one of those, at one stage he had eyes on top spot on day one after an eagle-three on his second hole and a birdie on 12 took him to within a shot of the clubhouse lead.

But bogeys were plentiful on the day, and to that point, Clarke had made none. That changed on 13 and he’d drop another on 17 to slip back to -1 which is how he finished.

Still, it’s good for a tie for 20th, and just three shy of the early leaders, Glen Day and Boo Weekley. Day was one of the earlier starters so got the benefit of softer greens and slightly weaker winds, while Weekley was in the final group on day one and his five birdies and one bogey was an extremely impressive effort.

One shot back from the leading duo are a six-strong contingent including Thomas Bjorn, Steve Stricker and David Duval. Former world number one Duval has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts and though he has yet to win on the Champions circuit, was among the leading contenders last week and few would be unhappy to see him capture his first professional victory since landing the PNC Father and Son Championship – as it was then called – back in 2016.


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