Darren Clarke holed a 72nd hole birdie to win the Senior Open and avoid a play-off against his old Ryder Cup team-mate Padraig Harrington at Gleneagles.

After a disastrous front nine Harrington clawed himself back into contention with a final round 67 to post a nine-under total.

The three-time Major winner made the turn in 37 after a bogey at seven and a double bogey at nine, but he tore up the famous course coming back, shooting six birdies to take the clubhouse lead with Clarke on the 16th.

Clarke failed to fire on a wet Sunday - where play was suspended due to heavy rain - shooting nine pars on the front nine before carding with a bogey six 10 and getting his shot back with a birdie three at 12.

On the 17th tee he knew he had two holes to find a birdie or face a play-off against his old pal Harrington. He could only par the penultimate hole so it was on to the par-five 18th, where he had recorded a birdie in each of his first three rounds.

As the darkness grew deeper near 9pm, Clarke found the front fringe of the par-five with his second shot. He rolled his eagle putt close enough and when playing partner Paul Broadhurst missed his putt he knew his tap-in birdie would seal a Senior Open to go with the Open he won in 2011.