Minor change makes big difference for Clarke

By Brian Keogh

Big Darren Clarke proved that golf is a game of inches with a final round 67 at the K Club.

The Dungannon giant hit an eagle, five birdies - by standing just TWO INCHES closer to the ball.

Clarke finished the tournament in one under par, despite a third round 76 that included six bogeys on the trot on the first nine.

He said: "By standing a bit closer to it I was six under for the last ten holes. Sometimes it clicks into place and I give myself lots of opportunities and today I holed a couple of nice putts."

Clarke eagled the last for a round that has lifted his spirits before he gets ready for the Open at Muirfield in a fortnight's time.

He added: "It's better to finish like that. I was very disappointed last night because wanted to give myself a chance of getting back into the tournament and defend the title.

"What happened yesterday was very disappointing. Certainly not what I had hoped for."

Clarke thought that he was in for another day of disaster when his drive at the first finished up in the rough and he took a bogey.

"I played my first tee shot and my drive went in the rough up against a tree. So I said here I go again," he explained. "But I just hung in there and with 67 I'm pretty pleased."

Despite another bogey at the sixth he birdied the fourth and ninth to turn in level par and then came home in five under thanks to birdies at the 11th, 13th and 17th and that eagle at the last.

Now the 33 year old is trying to forget the bad shots on Saturday and get his game in shape.

"I'm having a couple of days at home and heading to Loch Lomond on Wednesday. I didn't hit that many bad shots on Saturday and just got a few bad bounces. To have that going on yesterday and to finish the tournament under par is pretty good."