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SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ross Kinnaird

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland lifts the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland lifts the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Stuart Franklin

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  General View of the final leaderboard at the end of the final round following Darren Clarke's victory in The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: General View of the final leaderboard at the end of the final round following Darren Clarke's victory in The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Scott Halleran

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England

Streeter Lecka

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler holds the Claret Jug following Darren Clarke's victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler holds the Claret Jug following Darren Clarke's victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Streeter Lecka

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  A banner is  towed behind a light aircraft congratulating Darren Clarke on his victory during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: A banner is towed behind a light aircraft congratulating Darren Clarke on his victory during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Streeter Lecka

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland celebrates victory on the 18th green during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland celebrates victory on the 18th green during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Scott Halleran

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland toasts his victory with a pint of Guinness at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland toasts his victory with a pint of Guinness at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Stuart Franklin

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland toasts his victory with a pint of Guinness at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland toasts his victory with a pint of Guinness at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Stuart Franklin

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler embraces Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler embraces Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Stuart Franklin

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler embraces Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler embraces Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Stuart Franklin

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland embraces his caddy John Mulrooney on the 18th green following his victory during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland embraces his caddy John Mulrooney on the 18th green following his victory during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Stuart Franklin

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke looks over at the Claret Jug during a press conference after the 2011 Open Championship

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke looks over at the Claret Jug during a press conference after the 2011 Open Championship

Darren Clarke holds the Claret Jug after winning the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Darren Clarke holds the Claret Jug after winning the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke celebrates after making a birdie on the 12th during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Darren Clarke celebrates after making a birdie on the 12th during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

David Davies

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland waits with caddy John Mulrooney and  Lucas Glover (R) of the United States during the third round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 16, 2011 in Sandwich, England

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland waits with caddy John Mulrooney and Lucas Glover (R) of the United States during the third round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 16, 2011 in Sandwich, England

Streeter Lecka

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke tees off during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke tees off during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

David Davies

Darren Clarke during the third round during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Darren Clarke during the third round during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Owen Humphreys

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

David Davies

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke stretches before teeing off during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke stretches before teeing off during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich

David Davies

Lori Moore, Darren Clarke and Alison Campbell at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Lori Moore, Darren Clarke and Alison Campbell at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

The Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Sarah Moore, Ruth Gorman and Charlene McLean

The Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Sarah Moore, Ruth Gorman and Charlene McLean

Jessica McCrea, Emma Hughes, Jennifer Carson, Gemma Boyle, Lori Moore and Sasha Gale at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Jessica McCrea, Emma Hughes, Jennifer Carson, Gemma Boyle, Lori Moore and Sasha Gale at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Carla Nugent and Martina McElhatten at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Carla Nugent and Martina McElhatten at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Eve Bannon, Danielle Hibbert and Sean Loughran at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Eve Bannon, Danielle Hibbert and Sean Loughran at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Irene Leahey, Denise Robinson and Mary Martin at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Irene Leahey, Denise Robinson and Mary Martin at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Joanne Smith, Joe Braden and Grainne McGarvey at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Joanne Smith, Joe Braden and Grainne McGarvey at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Eddie Corcan, John Shannon and Stephen Ramsay at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Eddie Corcan, John Shannon and Stephen Ramsay at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Christine Murphy, Peter Gilroy and Finola Guinnane at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Christine Murphy, Peter Gilroy and Finola Guinnane at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sibonguile Mude, Charlotte Sythes and Danielle Wong at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sibonguile Mude, Charlotte Sythes and Danielle Wong at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sarah and Stephanie McQuillan at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sarah and Stephanie McQuillan at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sara McDowell and Tara McLaughlin at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sara McDowell and Tara McLaughlin at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sophie Calderwood, Grace Kerr and Fiona Kerr at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sophie Calderwood, Grace Kerr and Fiona Kerr at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Jonathan Taylor, Hannah Campbell, Holly Lyons and Carly Campbell at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Jonathan Taylor, Hannah Campbell, Holly Lyons and Carly Campbell at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Jenny Monroe and Sarah Toland at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Jenny Monroe and Sarah Toland at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Male Model of the Year Rob Rea, Newcomer of the Year Fionola Guinnane, Promotional Model of ythe Year Jacqueline Gracey and Model of the Year Ciara McStravick at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Male Model of the Year Rob Rea, Newcomer of the Year Fionola Guinnane, Promotional Model of ythe Year Jacqueline Gracey and Model of the Year Ciara McStravick at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Valerie Kirkpatrick, Louise Roe, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Valerie Kirkpatrick, Louise Roe, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Model of the Year Ciara McStravick with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Joleen McKee, Alison Campbell and  Louise Roe at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Model of the Year Ciara McStravick with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Joleen McKee, Alison Campbell and Louise Roe at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Male Model of the Year Rob Rea with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Joleen McKee, Alison Campbell and  Louise Roe at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Male Model of the Year Rob Rea with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Joleen McKee, Alison Campbell and Louise Roe at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Promotional Model of the Year Jacqueline Gracey with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Promotional Model of the Year Jacqueline Gracey with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Newcomer of the Year Fionola Guinnane with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Newcomer of the Year Fionola Guinnane with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Peter Gilroy at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Peter Gilroy at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sarah Moore, Ruth Forman and Charlene McLean at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Sarah Moore, Ruth Forman and Charlene McLean at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Alison Campbell and friends at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Alison Campbell and friends at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Stephanie McGall, Ashleigh Moore and Naomi Sheard at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Stephanie McGall, Ashleigh Moore and Naomi Sheard at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Judith McAteer,  Michael Good and Sophie Harrison at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Judith McAteer, Michael Good and Sophie Harrison at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Emma Murphy, Anna Hansan, Sophie Harrison and Judith McAteer at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Emma Murphy, Anna Hansan, Sophie Harrison and Judith McAteer at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Michael Good, Andrew Bree and Kyle Anderson at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Michael Good, Andrew Bree and Kyle Anderson at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com

Alison Campbell at the  Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards

Alison Campbell at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards

Darren Clarke with Alison Campbell. 'Everything is fantastic at the moment,' he says

Darren Clarke with Alison Campbell. 'Everything is fantastic at the moment,' he says

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Pinch yourself and insist it's not a dream. It isn't. Darren Clarke - yes, 42-year-old, overweight Darren Clarke - is Open Champion.

Not only that, but he's the third Ulsterman to bag a Major in 13 months. Unbelievable!

No wonder his famous young protégé Rory McIlroy - who recently succeeded compatriot Graeme McDowell as US Open champion - was tweeting last night that Northern Ireland was now 'golf capital of the world.'

Dungannon veteran Clarke's stunning and fully deserved triumph at Sandwich means that three of the last six Majors have been won by Ulster golfers - all of them born in different decades.

"We're blessed to have obviously two fantastic players in Rory and G-Mac, and I've just come along - the old guy coming along behind them," said a proud, delighted and emotional Clarke last night.

"To have three Major champions from a little small place in a short period of time; well, it's just incredible."

He added: "There was a party for G-Mac when he won the US Open and a party for Rory a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure I'll have another one this week - now I've finally won a Major."

Belfast Telegraph