Darren Clarke has fantastic win in 2011 Open at Royal St George’s

Darren Clarke has fantastic win the 2011 Open at Royal St George’sdarren-clarke-open-2011-champion.jpg
Darren Clarke held his nerve to win his first major title with a three shot victory in the 2011 Open at Royal St George’s. The 42-year-old from Northern Ireland scored a final-round 70 to finish five under to hold off the American Challenge of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson who both finished in 2nd place on 2 under for the Championship. In fourth place was Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn who ended on one under after a 71 and in tied 5th place were Rickie Fowler, Chad Campbell and Anthony Kim who all finished on level par.

Darren Clarke was playing in his 20th Open Championship and amazingly he becomes only the second Northern Irishman to win the Open after Fred Daly in 1947. Northeren Ireland now has won three of the last five major championships with Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy winning the last two US Open Championships.

The crowd we willing Clarke to hold on for victory after he started the final day one shot clear of Dustin Johnson. With the help of great play and great control of his emotions he held on for a famous win. He has been seeing Bob Rotella, the well renounded sports sychologist, to help him stay positive and relaxed during his round and it was clear to everyone to see that is was working as he smiled and looked relaced throughout the four round of the tournament and especially under the pressure of the last round.

The weather was unpredictable and included sunny periods and heavy rain showers but Clarke managed himself and his game well to overcome the conditions, the course his emotions. There was a tremendous run from Phil Michelson who managed to play the first 10 hole of the last round in 6 under par with the help of an eagle at the 7th and four birdies. His challenge cam unstuck when he carelssly 3 putted the 11 missing from under two feet. After that he slipped back dropping four shots in his last 8 holes. His nearest othe challengers was only two shot behing playing the 14th but a wayward layup with an iron flw out of bounds and his challenge then faded.

Clarke said after his marvellous win “This means a lot to me and my family and as you may know there is someone up there looking down on me as well” referring to his wife who died from breast cancer in 2006. He went on “It is just incredible. I’m a bit speechless. I played ok today, I did what I had to do and the last few holes when I was far ahead I just tried to be careful and not do anything stupid. I’ve been very calm all week, I won six weeks ago and the more you put yourself in winning positions the more comfortable you get. I was very comfortable with my game this week. I could hear the roars going up for Phil Mickelson on the way round but I was hitting some shots and doing ok. Professional golf has its ebbs and flows, that’s the way it goes. It’s very special for me and the kids. They were playing at Royal Portrush today and they will be very proud”. Darren went on to thank the crowd “I can’t thank you enough for the support I’ve had this past four days. The roaring has helped me to stand here and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Facts on Darren Clarke’s win

  • His 14th European Tour International Schedule victory in his 460th European Tour event.
  • Moves to €1,303,927 in The Race to Dubai.
  • Moves into the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking from 111th.
  • His first Major Championship in his 54th Major Championship appearance.
  • This victory beats his previous best Major Championship performance of tied second in the 1997 Open Championship.
  • Victory comes in his 20th Open Championship appearance. This is a record number of appearances for a player winning their first Open.
  • At aged 42 years and 337 days is the oldest player to win The Open Championship since Roberto de Vicenzo, who was 44 years and 93 days in 1967.
  • At aged 42 years and 337 days is the oldest player to win a Major Championship since Ben Crenshaw at the 1995 Masters Tournament, who was 43 years and 88 days.
  • At aged 42 years and 337 days is the oldest player to win their first Major Championship since Roberto de Vicenzo, who was 44 years and 93 days in 1967.
  • Second consecutive victory in a Major Championship by a Northern Irishman following Rory McIlroy at the US Open Championship.
  • Joins Fred Daly (1947 Open), Graeme McDowell (2010 US Open) and Rory McIlroy (2011 US Open) as players from Northern Ireland to win a Major Championship.
Darren Clarke – What equipment is in his bag

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