Clarke Enters - And Exits - Laughing

By George WhiteFebruary 19, 2002, 5:00 pm
Darren Clarke looked remarkably wide-awake at 8 in the morning for a man who treasures his sleep. He should be adjusted to the new wake-up hours by now, having played on the West Coast at Los Angeles last week (he missed the cut.) The eight hours time difference from his bed back home in Ireland doesnt seem so bad, though. The big fella still loves his shut-eye, his pastries and the good life.
Work-out is a phrase that hasnt caught on with him yet. The rest of the Accenture field was busy in the La Costa spa with the weights and bikes and gut-busting paraphernalia, but not Darren. He chuckled at the mention of the words weight loss.
Youve got to get the flu or something, get a tummy bug, thats the easiest way, he said, contemplating the prospect of weight reduction. And this winter, he had to admit that occasionally he had lost a pound or two. Ive been sick a little bit, he said, then laughed.
Clarke, who seems to do everything with extreme good nature, said he has no idea what his weight is. He looked to be about 240, give or take a few Twinkies, but professed ignorance as to the exact number.
I dont know ' it varies, he said. I have been doing a little stretching with John, the guy I was working last year. But I havent been doing an awfully lot.
Clarke, it must be said, walks about five miles every time he plays a round of golf. And it must be said that he was one of two men who played six rounds at this tournament ' the last round 36 holes - the last time it was played at La Costa, in 2000. The other was a gent named Tiger Woods. Oh ' the big guy won.
I was just walking around without a care in the world, Clarke remembered that day when he won, 4 and 2. Walked around, smoking a cigar and having a nice time on the golf course and that was it. It wasnt as if I was trying ' I mean, I was trying, but I didnt FEEL as if I was trying.
Clarke sighed. I wish it was that easy all the time, he said. Clarke, you see, at times has as much talent as anybody in the world. At times he looks absolutely unbeatable. Such is the ability of this big man. If you had to come up with a golfer to define streaky, Darren Clarke would be your man.
For all his size, Clarke is not a particularly big hitter. But he can be a great iron player. That was never more apparent than that day in 2000, when every second shot seemed to be right on the pin.
It was always me hitting first, he said, noting that he was forever further from the flag after the drive. So it was always me hitting first, so it was never really that much pressure on me hitting shots into the green.
Thats one of those things, if you can get in really close and put pressure on them. And because I was swinging particularly well that week, I was able to do. I missed very few greens that whole week.
Woods agreed. Every time he looked, another shot was in the shadow of the flagstick.
He didnt make many putts, Tiger noted. But he didnt have to.
Meaning, of course, that so many approaches were up next to their target that Clarke didnt have to spend much time lining up putts. The big guy knocked em close, then tapped em in.
That was supposed to signal a new Clarkie, one that was competing for world No. 1. That hasnt happened, of course.
The game ' youre continually learning, learning about my swing and what shots I should take on at the right time. Making the right decisions is the hardest part, he said.
I would not say that Im very good at that most of the time.
Thats a big confession. But it is the nature of this big man. Honesty ' and having a good time ' are the very best policies.
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Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.

Full-field scores from the SAS Championship

''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

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Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.

Full-field scores from the British Masters

A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

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Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.

Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos

The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."