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Clarke disheartened by opening 73

Open champion Darren Clarke is not enjoying his return to Augusta National. Photo Eoin Clarke/www.golffile.ieDarren Clarke took less than a minute to express his bitter disappointment with his opening 73 at Augusta National. In truth, he played well but sounded like a man who can’t wait to pack his bags tonight.

“Same old, same old. Played better than I scored,” he sighed after making just one birdie, a tap in from a foot at the 13th. “I had 33 putts today, kept giving myself chances but didn’t make anything.

“Luckily I made a very good save for a par four at the last from one of my only poor tee shots all day so all in all it should have been better but not too bad.”

Clarke started with five pars, bogeyed the fifth and sixth and then strung together another five pars before making his only birdie of the day at the par-five 13th.

He then finished with four straight pars, holing his longest putt of the day at the last from four feet to save par after a rare poor drive.

Clarke’s pain was obvious afterwards but he made a Freudian slip when asked about his groin injury and hinted that he has little hope of making the cut.

“I didn’t miss that many greens today but when you give yourself that many chances inside 10 feet you’ve got to take them. It was a frustrating day on the green - as per usual.

“The inury is still sore and I am eating Adrvils. But just one round to go.”

One round to go!

Asked for his plans for Friday, Clarke said: “Just do the same again. Take some pain killers and go play.”

When asked if he was looking forward to the challenge by BBC NI, he said: “Not particularly, no.”