Clarke has lucky escape in buggy crash

Jinxed Darren Clarke cheated death after going head first into a bunker in a runaway golf buggy.

The accident-prone Ulsterman, 40, was being driven off the course at Royal Sydney after torrential rain stopped play in the Australian Open.

Clarke and Australia's Robert Allenby were racing back to the clubhouse after playing just nine holes of their second rounds.

But the driver sent to retrieve the players from the furthest point on the course failed to notice the yawning bunker in the middle of the sixth fairway and the buggy careered down a steep slope of bunker, flipped over and threw everyone from the cart.

Relieved to escape serious injury, Clarke said: “We were very lucky, it could have been much worse.

"It was raining so heavily and we were driving down a fairway heading in the opposite direction to the hole.

“We didn't see the bunker until the last minute so we went straight down it with the buggy flipping over.

"My leg is very sore and while it hasn't started coming up yet, I'm fearing it might.

“Robert said he twisted his leg but we were all lucky none of us was injured badly because it was quite a steep drop straight down into the bunker."

While Clarke wasn’t at the wheel this time, his love of high-speed vehicles has cost him in the past.

The Ryder Cup star suffered severe bruising when he flipped his 250cc off-road buggy in a field at his Surrey home last year.

At the time Clarke revealed: “I flipped it over, it rolled several times and even went head over tip. It has a four point harness and it’s a proper piece of kit. It’s not a toy. But I’ve flipped it.

“I’ve been out in it 15 or 18 times and never even threatened to flip it but this time I did it good and proper."

A few years earlier, Clarke took delivery of a high-speed trike for Christmas and immediately crashed it into the wall of his garage.

He eventually sold the Hells Angels style bike to pal Sam Torrance.

Clarke was lying in a share of 71st place at the time of the stoppage after having dropped two strokes with four bogeys and two birdies over his outward nine.
 
"I've got my work cut out and two over par is not where I want to be with nine holes to play," he said.
 
The Ulsterman, who is in Sydney simply to get himself back inside the top-50 on the rankings, trailed a stroke adrift of the anticipated cut-off mark and a distance 13 strokes behind Australia's Stephen Dartnall who was out earlier in the day carding a second round 68 to lead the field by two strokes on 11-under par.
 
Fellow Australian Matthew Goggin, who was runner up in last week's Australian PGA Championship, is next best on nine under par.
 
Allenby will return to the course at five under while John Daly is staring at a third missed cut in succession in Australia despite getting back to five over par through nine holes.