By John Manley
Darren Clarke and Pádraig Harrington acquitted themselves well in The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, but beyond the second round neither seriously challenged for the right to be fitted for a green jacket.
Vijay Singh won the tournament with a 10-under-par total of 278, three strokes better than runner-up Ernie Els.
Clarke was tied for 12th place, five strokes behind leader David Duval, at the conclusion of 36 holes, having shot 72 and 71. His prospects were gone with the winds that blew through on Saturday, halting play for a spell.
Clarke came in with a 78, then finished with a 74 on Sunday. He tied for 40th place at seven-over-par 295, earning $17,020.
Harrington, playing in the Northern Hemisphere for the first time in several weeks, started slowly, carding a 76 on Thursday. He bounced back with a 69 on Friday to make the cut. His 75 on Saturday wasn’t bad considering the miserable weather conditions. He flirted with a top 20 finish on Sunday, starting his round with birdies on two of the first three holes. But he stalled thereafter, finishing one under for 18 holes at 71 for an aggregate 291 (three over par) and a 19th-place tie. He left $49,833 richer.
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Augusta wasn’t the only Georgia locale hosting professional golf last week. Dawsonville welcomed the men of the NGA/Hooters Tour to the Gold Creek Classic at the Gold Creek Resort. One of the participants was County Offaly’s Richard Coughlan, who took a piece of 17th place.
Coughlan’s scores are indicative more of the conditions facing the field than they are of his ability. He started with a 74, before slicing eight strokes off that number on Friday. His 66 was the third best score of the day and moved him up to seventh place on the leaderboard.
Saturday’s stormy weather produced a challenge that Coughlan answered with a 75. He finished on Sunday with a 72 for a total of 287 and a check to his order for $1,497.13. Chad Campbell had the field at his mercy as he cruised to a nine-stroke victory with a score of 271. He was the only golfer to break par over 72 holes.