Darren Clarke ends three-year title drought

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke ends three-year title drought

Irishman Darren Clarke trailed behind Chris Wood by four shots Sunday but won the Iberdila Open with a three-stroke victory, to claim his first title in the European Tour in three years.

A total of 13 European Tour titles have been won by Clarke, who had to endure a dry spell after 2008 where he won his last tour victory at the KLM Open.

“It’s a bit of a monkey to get off my back after three years not winning so it’s good,” Clarke said on the European Tour website.

“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.”

Wood, who seeking his professional career’s first win, got a six-over-par final round 76 after hitting eight bogeys that tied him with David Lynn for second place.

“(I am) 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.”

Mark Brown of News Zealand finished 19 shots behind Clarke as he slipped the leaderboard with an 80 in the final round, which tied him for 55th.

Only three players broke 70 and that includes Clarke and the late comers Paul Broadhurst and Rafa Echenique.

“It feels pretty good right now, I got so down after my weekend in Morocco worked out poorly, but I’ve had a good break, worked on a few things and it was great to come back out and win,” said Clarke, who has had three weeks off in Barbados.

“I feel for Woody, he’s had a tough day out there and he’s trying to win his first tournament – I’ve been a bit lucky and a few things went for me there late on and they didn’t go for him but I’m delighted I’ve won again.

“When you’re chasing the leader perfect conditions are not want you want – a firm breeze I thought was always going to help me and that’s how it turned out.

“The course has been redesigned by Ollie and it’s tough, you don’t need to be a long course to be challenging. Six under par has won the tournament with three good days and one tough day so the golf course is challenging.”