Category: Archive

Clarke and Harrington fall in Cal.

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

But two groups ahead of Clarke, Luke Donald caught fire turning onto the back nine. He turned a four-stroke deficit into a two-stroke victory with help from Clarke. The latter held on for sole possession of second place, while Harrington and Campbell shared third place in this unofficial, year-end event at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Clarke came out blazing on Thursday, shooting 65, but was still two strokes behind the even hotter Campbell. Both regressed on Friday, Clarke needing 73, with Campbell carding 72. Clarke took the lead on the back nine Saturday, shooting 64, while Campbell’s putter grew rusty, as he ran off 68. Harrington, meanwhile, crept into the picture, joining Campbell in second, a stroke behind Clarke, after rounds of 68, 70 and 65.
Sunday found both Harrington and Clarke spinning out of control, with Harrington the first to fall. Bad lies in the rough led to bogeys at 10 and 12 for Harrington, who also lost a stroke by finding water at 18. Still, some deft work with his wedge and putter allowed him to salvage a share of third place. He closed with 73 for an aggregate 276, good for $475,000.
Clarke, meanwhile, played evenly, but that would not prove to be good enough as Donald was gathering steam with a string of birdies on the back nine. Clarke actually sank a long uphill putt from about 30 feet on 12 that enabled him to retain the lead, as Donald had just shaved another stroke off par at 14.
Donald joined Clarke atop the leaderboard with a successful birdie putt at 16, and then took sole possession when Clarke encountered trouble at the same hole. Clarke pushed his tee shot left of the fairway and his chip out of the rough went but a few feet. He found the green with his next try, and then just missed an 8-foot putt for par.
Clarke needed birdie on either 17 or 18 to force a playoff with Donald, but left putts on both those greens well short, having to settle for par both times. Clarke shot 72 on Sunday, finishing with 274 for the event. He collected $800,000.

Gary Murphy and Damien McGrane played an encouraging brand of golf at the Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek, set on the edge of Kruger National Park in South Africa. Ernie Els ran off to a three-shot win here, but Murphy might have given him a run if not for a third-round fiasco that saw him card 77. Murphy shot 3-under-par 285 (71-69-77-68) to take a piece of 24th place, 11 strokes behind Els.
McGrane, likewise, ran afoul of the course in the third round, shooting 76. Otherwise, he carded 70 each of the three other rounds and his 286 stood him among a pack in 27th place. Stephen Browne’s 146 (73-73) was one stroke high of the cut line. David Higgins shot 150 (75-75) and also missed.

Rory McIlroy was granted a sponsor’s exemption into the MasterCard Masters at Huntingdale Golf Club in South Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia, and the Northern Irish teen responded by grabbing a piece of 49th place. He finished one stroke over par at 289 (74-70-73-72), which was 18 strokes off the low scores carded by Robert Allenby and Bubba Watson (Allenby won the playoff). McIlroy prospered on the long holes, finishing nine under par on the par-5s, whereas he was 10 over on the 3s and 4s.

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