Friday, 19 March 2010
KLM Open - Round Two  (Getty Images)
KLM Open - Round Two (Getty Images)
Darren Clarke was giving Nick Faldo a further nudge that he should be the man to complete Europe's Ryder Cup line-up by taking a commanding lead at The KLM Open.

The 40 year old Northern Irishman had to wait until nearly 3pm to begin his third round because of a one-hour lightning delay at the start of the day.

But when he did, Clarke, who shared the halfway lead with England's Robert Rock and Swede Alexander Noren on eight under par, birdied the fourth, sixth and seventh holes before taking a bogey at the eighth.

He got back on track with birdies on the 12th and 13th and is currently 12 under par through 15. It is a superb run that has only been helped by the slumps of his earlier rivals.

Noren had double bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes, while Rock, who also entertained hopes of his first European Tour victory when he resumed, also took six at the fifth and then crashed to a quintuple bogey nine on the next.

Noren’s run initially got worse with a bogey at the eighth, but three birdies in his first five holes on the back nine has taken him to six under through 14.

No such luck for Rock. Further bogeys at the tenth and 14th have moved him to one over through 14, nine over for the round.
It has allowed clubhouse leader John Bickerton to take second place on eight under after a 66, while Henrik Stenson is also four off the pace with three to play. He is one under for the day.

Scotland's Marc Warren, Colin Montgomerie's partner when the Scots won the World Cup in China last November, shot 67 and is seven under overall.

As for the battle for the last three automatic qualifying spots in Faldo's Team, it was England's Oliver Wilson who has having much the best day of the contenders.

At ninth in the Ryder Cup standings entering the penultimate counting tournament, Wilson's bogey-free 66 lifted him to five under.
Justin Rose, eighth on the points table, chipped in at the first but bogeyed three of the next four. However, birdies at the 12th and 13th took Rose back to four under and a share of 14th.

He then three-putted from inside 15 feet at the last and was disappointed as he handed in a one over 71 for three under.

Denmark's Soren Hansen, marginally ahead of German Martin Kaymer, is five under through 16, while Kaymer is two over after a 74 that featured three double bogeys.

Defending champion Ross Fisher, 13th in the Ryder Cup standings, improved only to one under with a 69 and must now pin his hopes of a star performance at next week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy is still not quite out of the equation.

He could need to win the last two events, but the first remained a possibility when he moved to six under after a 68.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-16
3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-11
T6HANSEN, SorenDEN18-8
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