Darren Clarke crashed to a third round 79 as South Korea’s KT Kim took a one stroke lead over American Bubba Watson in the Australian PGA Championship.
The Open champion and world No 36, who has yet to record a top 30 finish since he triumphed at Royal St George’s in July, slipped back to tied 61st in the 66 man field on five-over par at the Hyatt Regency Coolum on the Sunshine Coast. Scores
After carding just one birdie against two bogeys and three doubles, Clarke tweeted his 106,000-plus followers: “Sometimes golf is easy, sometimes golf is tough but today I was brutal!! #lovemyjob :-)”
Kim shot a flawless, five-under 67 to move to the head of affairs on 13 under par with Watson just a stroke adrift after a 69.
The American believes the final round could turn into a cavalry charge for the title with 11 players within six shots of Kim’s lead.
Expecting an early charge from the pack, he told the Australian PGA website: “You’re just starting out with all the par fives right off the bat. On the first five holes you’ve got three of them right in a row.
“You can score early but then it kind of slows down, the back nine the wind is different and the wind makes it work just the pars and then you’ve got a few holes on the back nine where you can make birdies.
“But (if) you start off really hot, put some pressure on some people so someone back in the field can easily jump up real quick.”
Clarke still has three events remaining this year and will head from Australia to South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge and then to Dubai for the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship.
He will then bring his major-winning season to a close at the Thailand Golf Championship.