Sport Golf

Thursday 22 February 2018

McGrane cashes in once more but putter woes haunt Clarke

DAMIEN McGRANE can afford a modicum of contentment as he takes a well-earned break after six weeks on the Tour treadmill in Arabia and South Africa.

For the first time in that exhausting run, the Kells man broke par in all four rounds at the Tshwane Open.

The €13,012 cheque he earned in a tie for 27th place was not as big as the one he banked in 22nd in Qatar last month, but McGrane played well on the High Veldt.

McGrane scrambled and putted well in South Africa, helping him reel off back-to-back rounds of three-under-par 69 at the weekend.

His next scheduled outing is the Trophee Hassan II in four weeks time in Agadir, where the Meathman finished second to Michael Hoey last season.

Darren Clarke seemed to be heading for his best round on Tour in 20 months as he played his opening 13 holes in a sizzling six-under.

However, Clarke slumped into a tie for 63rd (worth €3,900) after completing his final round 69 with three bogeys, an infuriating finish to a day which promised so much.

The Ulsterman would have enjoyed McGrane's sure touch on the greens. He needed 31 putts on Thursday, 33 on Friday and 34 on Saturday. Even after yesterday's 29, Clarke was tied 72nd (second-last) in putts per round.

Dawie van Der Walt (30) made it five successive victories by South African players on home soil this year, a final-round 67 propelling him to 21-under and two strokes clear of recent Africa Open winner Darren Fichardt, who shot 69.

Van Der Walt's first win either on the Sunshine or European Tours yielded a €237,750 cheque and a ticket to play the European circuit until the end of 2015. His only previous victories had come on Satellite Tours in the US.

Irish Independent

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