Darren Clarke proved there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet as he motored home to grab a top-10 finish at the Oasis Championship on the Champion’s Tour in Florida.
The Dungannon favourite signed off with a stunning seven-under par 65 in a near flawless round of golf to claim a share of 10th spot on minus-nine.
The former Open champion had started the event with a superb 67 but his chances of a title challenge were undone by a second round 75. Still, it’s a welcomed return to form for the now-veteran campaigner as he plies his trade amongst the seniors in America this year.
At the head of affairs, it was the immortal, Bernhard Langer who prevailed in Florida by a whopping five strokes.
Playing 10 minutes from his house, the 61-year-old German star closed with a 7-under 65 on Sunday in windy condition at The Old Course at Broken Sound to see-out a tournament-record 19-under 197 for his 39th victory on the PGA TOUR Champions and earned $255,000 to break Hale Irwin’s tour career record with $27,196,504.
“There’s many things to celebrate,” Langer said. “It means a great deal to win in front of your home crowd, your family, your friends. Winning at home is always extremely special, no doubt about it. It made it more special having my first win with my daughter Jackie, who’s only caddied three times for me.”
Langer moved within six of Irwin’s tour victory record and won in his 13th straight season to extend his record.
“The key to success is a lot of things,” Langer said. “You’ve got to be healthy, otherwise you can’t play, and a lot of guys at age 61 aren’t healthy anymore. They had this operation or that operation or a knee replacement or a hip replacement or whatever it may be. So I’ve been fortunate enough not to have any major surgeries so far besides my thumb in 2011, so that’s key.”
Marco Dawson was second after a 69 while Bob Estes shot a 68 to finish third at 13 under. David Toms was another stroke back after a 70. Scott McCarron (67), Gene Sauers (69) and Woody Austin (70) were 11 under, and Fred Couples (70) and Ken Tanigawa (70) followed at 10 under.
Retief Goosen (72) tied for 24th at 6 under on his senior debut. Gary Nicklaus, also making his first start, had a 73 to tie for 51st at 1 over. The 50-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus played on a sponsor exemption.