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Sunday, 15 May 2011
Darren Clarke  (Getty Images)
Darren Clarke (Getty Images)

Darren Clarke came from four behind to capture his 13th European Tour title at the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca.

The Northern Irishman used all his experience to grind out a final round 69 and deny Chris Wood his maiden victory.

The Ryder Cup Vice Captain had reduced Wood’s overnight advantage to one within three holes, but a double bogey at the 11th after finding water looked to have cost him a first win since the 2008 KLM Open.

But Wood encountered numerous problems on the back nine – three-putting the 12th and 13th and driving out of bounds at the 15th as he came back in 40, despite coming within millimetres of a hole in one at the last.

And Clarke finished in style, holing a putt from the fringe at the 14th, nailing his approach to six feet at the 15th, saving par on the 16th with a brilliant approach from a fairway bunker and then holing another putt from off the green to scramble par at the next.

Clarke, who like last week’s winner Thomas Aiken was playing in his first event back from a holiday in the Bahamas, said: “I had a really good time, felt very relaxed and worked on my game.

“Sometimes you need to step back and look at things from a different perspective and that’s what I did in the Bahamas.

“It’s a bit of a monkey to get off my back after three years not winning so it’s good. At the same time I feel a lot for Chris Wood – he’s a young guy, a great player and I’ve been in his position before.

“On a personal note I’m delighted to have played quite nicely today and win the tournament.”

The 42 year old finished with a six under par total at the Pula GC course designed by his final round playing partner José Maria Olazábal, with Wood tying for second with compatriot David Lynn.

“Obviously disappointed and gutted,” said Wood. “It was an extremely tough day on the course and it was a bit of a grind all the way round.

“Felt like I was doing alright and getting into my range and I hit a fantastic shot out the bunker on the 12th hole, a foot less and it was six feet away.

“But it’s just carried on and gone up the tier and took three putts, it was almost an impossible putt and from there on I’ve struggled.

“When you start dropping shots and you hit one out of bounds your head starts going all over the place and it’s difficult to keep going really.”

While Wood was understandably dejected, Clarke offered plenty of encouragement for the 23 year old.

“It’s a tough day for Chris Wood and I really feel for him,” added Clarke. “I don’t think the conditions were great for him today because he had to protect a lead but I do think that we don’t have to worry about him. He will win and it will be sooner rather than later.”

And Clarke also paid tribute to Seve Ballesteros, whose funeral last Wednesday overshadowed the build-up to the event.

“We wouldn’t be here without him, simple as that –The European Tour would not be in the position it is today without Seve,” he added. “He was the first man to do so many things and make so many breakthroughs that we have all followed, so to win in his homeland in the week that he passed away is a real honour.”

Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth produced a solid level par 70 to finish fourth, one ahead of Olazábal, Shane Lowry, Paul Lawrie and Graeme Storm.

 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-6
T2LYNN, DavidENG18-3
T2WOOD, ChrisENG18-3
4FORSYTH, AlastairSCO18-2
T5LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-1
T5STORM, GraemeENG18-1
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