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Clarke clings to Ryder Cup hope

Darren Clarke hasn’t completely given up on a place in Colin Montgomerie’s European Ryder Cup team.

Clarke — who holed the winning putt for Europe at the K Club in 2006, just weeks after the death of his wife Heather — isn’t going to seal an automatic place on the team to face the United States at Celtic Manor in October, but he is still eyeing a wild card pick.

The Dungannon-man, however, believes that he needs two tournament wins to force his way in.

“I need to win one of these last three tournaments to realistically give myself a chance and then possibly win again before the Ryder Cup comes around,” said Clarke yesterday as he launched this year’s Magners North of Ireland Amateur Golf Championship.

“It depends how the team is shaping up.

“If Monty has too many rookies in there then he will be looking to have a bit more experience.

“I am a long way off the pace at the moment so I am going to have to play very well over the next few weeks.”

The North of Ireland, of which Clarke is a former winner, remains one of the most sought after titles in amateur golf and this year’s tournament will run from Monday July 12 to Friday July 16.

James Simpson Magners Marketing Manager said: “The quality of the championship sits well with Magners with its heritage and dedication to quality.”

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