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A chilled out Darren Clarke has spring in his step

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Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

It should be rocket science and you don’t need to be any sort of academic but Darren Clarke stumbled on a simple formula to ease the frustration in shooting a well-over par round of golf.

Clarke looked in one of ‘those’ moods after Thursday’s horror 78 in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Doha.

Whether it’s the influence of his new fiancée, Alison Campbell or it’s simply another example of Clarke continuing to mellow as he gets older but the transformation in his demeanour as he walked from the course near lunch on day two had to be seen to be believed.

Clarke had simply ‘chilled out’ on Thursday night and with little pre-second round practice, proceeded in continued windy conditions to record five birdies in a round of 69 for a three-over par tally.

It left Clarke lying right on the cut-off mark at three over par and 10 strokes behind Austrian Marcus Brier, who carded a 66 to head the field by a stroke at seven under par.

“I was just so frustrated when I came off after Thursday’s round that I thought to myself I will instead just go and have a couple of pints in the clubhouse, so I did,” said Clarke.

“I then went back to the hotel, had a nice meal in the restaurant and just completely chilled out. I got up here this morning about 45 minutes before my tee off, hit a couple of balls and hit a few putts, and I go out and I play okay. I mean where is the logic in it all when you can shoot 78 one day and 69 the next?

“Today I’ve managed five good birdies and dropped just two shots.”

South African Darren Fichardt (68) is at six under par with three players — Robert Karlsson (69), England’s Richard Finch (69) and Dane Thomas Bjorn (65) — at five under par. But Lee Westwood missed his first halfway cut in 13 months after signing for a 74 and a four-over par total.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer didn’t drop a stroke in a 70 to finish tied with Clarke, Paul McGinley (70), Michael Hoey (73) and World No. 7 Steve Stricker (71) at the three over par cut-off mark.

Belfast Telegraph