Clarke Moves Three Clear in Scotland

By Sports NetworkJuly 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Barclays Scottish OpenLUSS, Scotland -- Darren Clarke fired a 6-under 65 on Friday to move to the top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Barclays Scottish Open. He finished 36 holes at 11-under-par 131 and is three ahead at Loch Lomond Golf Club.
 
Johan Edfors, a two-time winner this season on the European Tour, shot a 2-under 69 on Friday. He is tied for second place with Charl Schwartzel (66) and Damien McGrane (66) at 8-under-par 134.
 
David Drysdale, who shared the first-round lead with Edfors, posted a 1-under 70 in round two. He is tied for fifth place with Jamie Donaldson, who shot a 4-under 67, at minus-7.
 
Clarke collected his first birdie of the second round at the par-5 third, a hole he has birdied in each of the first two rounds. He added birdies at six and nine to make the turn at 3-under-par 33.
 
He stood at 8 under par for the championship and pushed it to minus-9 with a birdie at No. 10. Clarke dropped his only stroke of the round at the par-3 11th, but the 38-year-old more than atoned for his miscue there.
 
Clarke got back into sole possession of the lead at 9 under par with a birdie at the 14th. He moved to 10 under when he ran home a 12-foot birdie putt at 15, but saved his best shot for later in the round.
 
He missed a 35-footer for birdie at 16, but stepped onto the 205-yard, par-3 17th tee with a 6-iron. Clarke's ball stopped a foot from the cup and the Ulsterman tapped in for a birdie to get to minus-11.
 
At the par-4 18th, Clarke hammered his drive down the fairway and only had a 9-iron in his hand for his second shot. Clarke pushed his approach right of the putting surface, but hit his third to tap-in range.
 
Clarke converted the par putt and will take the 36-hole lead on the European Tour for the first time since the 2003 Dunhill Links Championship, when he went on to tie for fourth place.
 
'I hit it really nicely today and gave myself an awful lot of chances,' said Clarke. 'I missed a few, unfortunately, but overall 6 under is pretty good. I have been working on a few things with Ewen Murray and trying to hit the ball as hard as I can. If the club is in the right position then I can do that and I am feeling quite comfortable with what I am doing.'
 
Clarke has not won on tour since the 2003 World Golf Championships - NEC Invitational, but his excuse for not visiting the winner's circle is bigger than golf.
 
Clarke's wife Heather has been battling cancer over the past few years, so Darren has taken time away. He stated earlier in the month that the Ryder Cup, which will be played in two months, has not entered his mind as his focus is at home.
 
If Clarke were to hold on and hoist the trophy on Sunday, many, if not all, European Tour members would be happy.
 
'Darren played very well and if he plays anything like that over the weekend then he should be okay,' said Colin Montgomerie, who played with Clarke over the first two rounds. 'I'd be delighted to see him win. His troubles are well- broadcast and I wish him well. Now, he's three ahead and we all wish him well.'
 
Defending champion Tim Clark is in position to repeat after a 4-under 67 on Friday. He is tied for seventh place with Thomas Bjorn (64), Gregory Havret (67), Andres Romero (64), Raymond Russell (69) and Lee Westwood (67). The group came in at minus-6.
 
Luke Donald (69) and Ian Poulter (67) headline a group tied for 13th at 5-under-par 137. Montgomerie (66) and Sergio Garcia (67) are part of a group in 17th at minus-4.
 
Ernie Els and Retief Goosen both carded rounds of 2-under 69 on Friday and are in a logjam tied for 29th at 3-under-par 139.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-under-par 141 with 69 players making it to the weekend.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

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    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry