By John Manley
Golf fans in the New York metropolitan area will have the chance to watch Darren Clarke and other top professionals in the Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., from June 8-14.
First-year men Richard Coughlan and Keith Nolan of Ireland are possible competitors, although their status won’t be determined until shortly before the tournament begins. This year’s Classic takes on added significance as it will serve as the final prep for the U.S. Open, which will be held the following weekend.
Clarke, of Portrush, Co. Antrim, has made major strides toward stardom in the last year. He held the lead after the third round of last year’s British Open before finishing tied for second. He tied for eighth in this year’s Masters, and recently won the Benson & Hedges Open in England. This will be his first appearance in the Classic.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will feature pro-ams and practice rounds for the tournament field, all of which are open to the public at a cost of $10 per day. The Classic begins on Thursday, with general admission tickets priced at $25 if purchased in advance and $30 if purchased at the gate. A variety of season and group plans are available, as well as discounts for seniors and youths 16 and under. Further information on obtaining tickets is available by calling 1 (800) 765-4742.
McGinley 3 strokes back
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Paul McGinley was the top Irish finisher in the Volvo PGA Championship, last week’s stop on the European PGA Tour. McGinley finished 11 strokes under par at 277, three shots in back of Colin Montgomerie, the champion. McGinley opened with an even-par 72 over the Wentworth Club’s West Course in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. He followed with rounds of 69, 68 and 68, which placed him alone in 10th place.
Padraig Harrington was one shot back of McGinley in a tie for 11th place. His 72-hole total of 278 was comprised of rounds of 70, 69, 69 and 70. Darren Clarke was tied for 29th at 282 (71-68-75-68) and Raymond Burns placed 61st at 289 (70-72-74-73).
Packing their bags after the cut was established at 143 were Des Smyth and Eamonn Darcy, both at 145, Philip Walton at 146, Ronan Rafferty at 147, Stephen Hamill at 149, Damian McGrane at 151, and Paul Russell at 153.