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Darren Clarke flys Ulster flag as Graeme McDowell's challenge fades

By Carl Markham

Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open champion, was the best Northern Ireland golfer at Muirfield.

The big Dungannon man finished on seven over par – 10 shots behind winner Phil Mickelson – after recording a one over par 72 yesterday in the final round. It left him in 21st place.

Clarke posted an early bogey at the fifth but recovered to card three consecutive birdies at the seventh, eighth and ninth holes.

Bogeys followed at the 10th, 14th, 17th and 18th holes on his inward nine, along with a solitary birdie at the 12th.

Portrush ace Graeme McDowell struggled over the final two rounds and came home with a disappointing 77 to lie in equal 58th position on 12 over par.

McDowell, who had high hopes of winning the Claret Jug before the start of the tournament, began his final round in disastrous fashion with a bogey at the first being quickly followed by a double-bogey six at the second and a bogey at the fourth.

A further blemish at the eighth saw McDowell shoot 41 for his outward nine, but the former US Open champion steadied the ship with six successive pars, before registering another bogey at the 16th.

The Republic's Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington both shot rounds of 70, their best of the week, to end the tournament on nine over and 11 over respectively.

Rory McIlroy and Gareth Maybin both failed to make the cut.

Belfast Telegraph

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