4.9 C
Friday, September 25, 2020

Even in defeat Clarke is winning on Champions Tour

Must read

Top-10 greatest Irish Open moments 

As the action gets underway at Galgorm Castle, we countdown our 10 best Irish Open moments that have helped shape the tournament we know and love today

The importance of playing off the ‘right’ tees

After watching Bryson bash his way to US Open glory, it's hard not to feel inadequate when your pitching wedge only goes 80 yards... but maybe you're playing off the wrong tees for your ability?

ANA Inspiration, The Blue Wall, and a lesson for the PGA Tour

There’s nothing worse than burying your head in the sand and pretending everything is rosy, but it's a tactic that the PGA Tour has been deploying unapologetically for years

High science or a load of balls?

To find the ultimate ball for you, a ‘fitting’ under PGA Pro/Trackman supervision is wise. After all, if there's advantage to be had, why not take it?

It’s perhaps testament to the atmosphere on the PGA’s Champions Tour that even after two dour days, Darren Clarke can turn on the style and finish spectacularly.

Dead and buried in terms of winning the tournament at five-over par heading into Sunday’s final round at the Hoag Classic, Dungannon’s silver fox found plenty to cruise home with a five-under par round of 66 to return parity to his week at Newport Beach Country Club.

And why wouldn’t he be feeling positive despite two days of poor playing, given the sun shone on each errant shot at the plush playing fields of the rich and famous in Orange County, California.

“I love it,” Clarke said of his over-50’s club membership. “There aren’t many sports where you turn 50 and you become a rookie again. I’ve got more hair than anyone else on the range too!”

Indeed, from the jaws of the defeat, Clarke snatched a top-50 finish with his share of 47th place maintaining his position inside the top-20 on the Schwab Money List at 15th; Clarke having already earned $184,180 from just four events this year.

Having claimed a tie for second last week in Arizona, a third consecutive poor score may have planted a seed of doubt in Clarke’s mind, but by taking route 66 to the clubhouse for a well-earned Sunday brew, momentum’s maintained as Clarke’s swansong continues.

And if the feel-good factor of his Champion Tour exploits wasn’t enough, the former Open champion earned a shout out from an unlikely source in the PGA Tour’s Sung Kang, who earned his Open ticket to Clarke’s backyard later this year with a brave finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Kang will return to play in golf’s original championship for the third year running thanks to The Open Qualifying Series. The four-time Korean Tour winner qualified for The Open at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA TOUR in 2017 and 2018, and a final round 68 and tie for sixth at the Arnie ensured the 31-year-old will play at Royal Portrush later this year.

“I love the traditions and history of The Open and the players that have won it,” said Kang. “I went to Royal Troon in 2004 when Todd Hamilton won. I remember standing there on the back of the green waiting for autographs and Darren Clarke gave me his glove- I’ll never forget that.”

Yet with Clarke unknowingly imparting inspiration, Kirk Triplett was making a 12-foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole to win the Hoag Classic and record his seventh Champions victory.

The 56-year-old Triplett forced the playoff with a similar left-to-right breaker for birdie on the par-5 18th, then matched Woody Austin with a par on their first extra trip down the tree-lined decider.

“It was the exact same putt I had the first time through,” Triplett said.”We had our chances and neither one of us could get a stranglehold on it. I feel pretty lucky to have just had a chance to be in the playoff.”

New Gear

Now on the Tee: Limited-Edition adidas ZX 8000 golf shoes

Adidas Golf is going back to the archives again announcing the availability of the first-ever ZX model built for golf – the limited-edition ZX 8000 golf shoe

Titleist introduces Scotty Cameron Inspired by Justin Thomas Putter

Scotty Cameron is celebrating the long-running success of Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas with the introduction of the new Inspired by Justin Thomas Phantom X5.5 putter

TaylorMade introduce #MyTaylorMade custom family into Ireland

The MyTaylorMade personalised product programme offers thousands of combinations to personalise some of the company’s latest putter and wedge offerings

FootJoy unveil new limited edition FJ Flex LE3 footwear

FJ continue to push forward in golf fashion and innovation in the form of FJ Flex LE3, a spikeless offering that looks just as good off the golf course as it does on it


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Harrington happy to be back; 3-way tie at the top at Galgorm

Padraig Harrington was happy to be back in the saddle after he signed for a one-over par round of 71 to open his Irish Open account at Galgorm Castle

GMac opens Corales defence with a solid 70

Defending champ Graeme McDowell opened-up his defence of the Corales Puntacana Championship with a two-under par 70, the same score as West Waterford's Seamus Power

Lowry left disappointed as McGrane moves well at Galgorm

While Open Champion Shane Lowry carded eight bogeys in an opening 75, Damien McGrane returned a rock-solid first round 70 on day one of the Irish Open

Dates confirmed for AIG Cups and Shields All-Ireland finals

The GUI has confirmed the dates for the All-Ireland Finals of the AIG Cups and Shields, with the four competitions being held across two sets of dates in Donegal Golf Club in October

Sugrue shines with 67 on day one at Irish Open

James Sugrue looked determined to make the most of his late Irish Open invite after posting a superb three-under par round of 67 in testing conditions on day one at Galgorm Castle