/ Golf

Clarke secures Iberdrola Open in Majorca

Updated: Sunday, 15 May 2011 19:19

Darren Clarke - The Portrush man pulled clear of overnight leader Chris Wood to secure a three-shot victory Shane Lowry - There were three Irish in the top ten in Majorca as Darren Clarke landed the title, with Shane Lowry finishing joint fifth and Damien McGrane in a share for ninth place
Darren Clarke - The Portrush man pulled clear of overnight leader Chris Wood to secure a three-shot victory Shane Lowry - There were three Irish in the top ten in Majorca as Darren Clarke landed the title, with Shane Lowry finishing joint fifth and Damien McGrane in a share for ninth place

Ryder Cup veteran Darren Clarke overcame an overnight four-shot deficit to win the Iberdrola Open in Majorca, his 13th European Tour title but first for three years.

The Portrush man carded a final-round 69 for a six-under-par total for the tournament, three ahead of the English duo of Chris Wood, who had led after the second and third rounds, and David Lynn.

Clarke, the Ryder Cup vice-captain, had reduced the deficit 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 Dutch Open.

But he recovered in style, holing a putt from the fringe at the 14th while hitting his approach to six feet at the 15th.

Wood had major problems on the back nine, three-putting the 12th and 13th and driving out of bounds at the 15th as he carded a final-round 70 to finish three-over for the tournament.

There were three Irish in the top ten in Majorca as Shane Lowry finishing joint fifth on one under, while Damien McGrane finished in a share for ninth place on level par.

Simon Thornton will also be happy with his week's work in Majorca, finishing in a tie for 17th place on three over par.

Clarke was happy to get back to winning ways, but also offered backing to Wood who had looked in an unbeatable position after the third round.

Clarke told europeantour.com: ‘It's a bit of a monkey to get off my back after three years of not winning so it's good.

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

Wood, who also went close to victory at the Africa Open earlier in the year when he suffered a play-off defeat to Louis Oosthuizen, found his final round ‘a bit of a grind’.

‘Obviously I'm disappointed and gutted,’ Wood said.

‘It was an extremely tough day on the course and it was a bit of a grind all the way round. 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.’

But Clarke offered words of comfort and insisted Wood will win an event before too long.

‘It's a tough day for Chris Wood and I really feel for him,’ Clarke said.

‘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.’
Clarke also reserved praise for Seve Ballestreos, whose funeral overshadowed the build-up to the Iberdrola Open.

‘We wouldn't be here without him, simple as that - the European Tour would not be in the position it is today without Seve,’ Clarke said.

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