By John Manley
Darren Clarke gave chase but could do nothing to overtake Vijay Singh, having to settle for second place in the Shell Houston Open, played last weekend at the TPC at The Woodlands.
The final numbers show Singh enjoying a six-stroke margin of victory over Clarke, 266 to 272. Although Singh didn’t take the lead until the second round, he was two strokes up on Clarke, 67 to 69, after the opening 18 holes. Both men carded seven-under-par 65s on Friday. Singh’s 66 on Saturday increased his lead to three strokes over Clarke, who shot 67.
Sunday’s round began inauspiciously for Clarke, who had a birdie putt lip the cup on the first hole. The three-stroke margin held until the 13th hole. Clarke’s wayward drive forced him to go to a short iron on his second shot, just to loft the ball back onto the fairway. Singh, meanwhile, used a wood to blast his ball from the fairway onto the island green. Singh’s putt for eagle was slightly off, but his birdie moved him to four-up over Clarke, who saved par. The match effectively was decided at that point.
Clarke, who played on a sponsor’s exemption, earned $432,000 for his second-place finish.