Date: April 27, 2008

Clarke wins Asian Open

A superb birdie putt at the final hole secured Darren Clarke an emotional first victory on the European Tour in five years as the Ryder Cup star won the BMW Asian Open by a single stroke. The Northern Irishman&aposs last success on the circuit was at the WGC-NEC Invitational in 2003 but it took a superb 20-foot birdie putt on the par-four 18th to card a one-over-par 73 and edge Robert-Jan Derksen for the victory. Clarke finished eight-under overall, while Derksen took second place at seven under. Scott Hend was the best placed Australian after his even-par final round had him finishing in a tie for ninth place. Greg Norman continued his fine form with a solid one-under-par round to finish at even par and 14th place. Equal with Norman was Scott Strange, whlie Peter O&aposMalley had a disastrous final round, shooting five-over. Following the loss of his wife in 2006, Clarke has been working hard to get back to the sort of form that saw him capture the English Open on three occasions. “This win is very special,” said the 39-year-old. “It has been a very difficult time obviously. I&aposve put in hours and hours of work and it feels good to win again.” Having started the day tied for the lead alongside Derksen, Clarke dropped a shot on the par-four third but recovered with birdies on the fifth and 10th to move one-stroke clear. It looked like his victory would merely be a formality when on the 14th Derksen chipped into the water from the left of the green before putting for a double bogey. Clarke bogeyed the same hole but due to Derksen&aposs error it meant he moved two clear at the top of the leaderboard with four holes left to play. However, he then carded bogeys on the 16th and 17th whilst Derksen made par to ensure a nervous finish going onto the last. But Clarke kept his cool to card the decisive birdie after Derksen had sunk a par putt. BMW Asian Open final scores 280 – Darren Clarke (NIR) 71-69-67-73 281 – Robert-Jan Derksen (NED) 70-69-69-73 283 – Francesco Molinari (ITA) 71-75-68-69, Robert Dinwiddie (ENG) 70-73-66-74, Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 71-71-69-72 284 – Henrik Stenson (SWE) 68-76-72-68 285 – Martin Kaymer (GER) 72-72-74-67, John Bickerton (ENG) 71-75-69-70 286 – Peter Lawrie (IRL) 72-74-70-70, Scott Hend (AUS) 69-74-71-72 287 – Oliver Wilson (ENG) 68-74-74-71, Paul Broadhurst (ENG) 71-73-71-72, Retief Goosen (RSA) 72-70-72-73 288 – Greg Norman (AUS) 71-73-73-71, Scott Strange (AUS) 71-75-70-72, Joost Luiten (NED) 71-75-70-72, Liang Wen-chong (CHN) 71-71-73-73