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Darren Clarke cuts frustrated figure


Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke is looking forward this summer to moving back home to Portrush for good with his sons, Tyrone and Conor, while over the past two days he'd the rare pleasure of performing with his dad Godfrey on the European Tour stage.

While he has known intense tragedy and loss in his personal life, never has Northern Ireland's Ryder Cup icon been more “fed up” with his golf game than now.

Yesterday's second-round one-under-par 72 on the Red Course, ushered Clarke comfortably through the cut on four-under in a tie for 40th with, among others, fellow Ulsterman Gareth Maybin.

Yet Clarke is being driven to despair by his inability to hole putts. “I'm not here to make up the numbers yet, unfortunately, I'm doing that all too often these days,” he admitted. “I'm fed up. Even when I hit good putts at the moment, they're not going in.”

At least Clarke has this summer's homecoming to look forward to. Unhappy with his boys boarding at school in England, Clarke believes the time's right to make this move as his eldest, Tyrone, enters second level. “London has been great for us but I've always loved Portrush and the thought of living by the ocean,” he said. Peter Lawrie was Ireland's best in Rabat after a 70 on the Red Course propelled him into a tie for eighth, four behind leader Rhys Davies (24), a Tour rookie from Wales.

Davies equalled the course-record 64 (eight-under) set earlier by Louis Oosthuizen on the Blue Course. The South African had nine birdies on his card, seven more than his frustrated playing companion Paul McGinley, who missed the cut along with Shane Lowry, Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey.

In Florida Padraig Harrington charged into the early clubhouse lead with a superb six-under-par 65, his low round of the year so far, in the second round of the Transitions Championship.

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Four behind after his opening 69, the three-time major winner gave his best iron display for some time to reach halfway on eight under, one ahead of Jim Furyk and Carl Pettersson.

Harrington, without a Tour win since he won back-to-back majors at The Open and US PGA two years ago, grabbed seven birdies and would have led on his own but for a bogey at the sixth hole. Harrington said: “The greens are superb and the wind was predictable, so it was a good morning for scoring.”

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