Thursday 19 January 2017

Schwartzel tops as clarke banishes final-hole blues

Karl McGinty

Published 11/01/2010 | 05:00

DARREN CLARKE at least managed to shake off his final hole blues as he finished in a tie for 28th (worth €8,542), well adrift of winner South African Charl Schwartzel in yesterday's closing round of the Africa Open at East London.

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The Ulsterman -- who finished second in last year's event -- shot six birdies and three bogeys for a round of 70, which left him on 12-under for the tournament, eight behind Schwartzel. But he at least managed a par at the last after the final hole cost him four shots over the first three days.

Belfast's Michael Hoey slipped into a share of 55th place on seven-under (€3,425) after a final round of level par 73.

Clarke and Hoey now move on to this week's Johannesburg Open, where they will be joined on the timesheet by Ireland's Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy, Simon Thornton and Niall Kearney.

Ironically, Schwartzel appeared to be coasting to victory when he lost concentration at 18 and dropped his only shot in an otherwise faultless round of 67.

Yet an anxious wait for his rivals to finish ended in satisfaction for Schwartzel (25), the highest-ranked player in the field, as he edged out joint overnight leader Thomas Aiken by a stroke and picked up his fourth European Tour title since 2005.

Irish Independent

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