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Darren Clarke: I seized chance to get back out on the golf course with Rory McIlroy at The Open

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Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke at Royal St George's

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke at Royal St George's

PA

Thomas Bjorn

Thomas Bjorn

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Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke at Royal St George's

Officially, Royal St George’s doesn’t open its gates until 7am. But that didn’t stop Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy stealing onto the first tee at 6.45am yesterday for their final practice ahead of The Open Championship.

As they did in 2011, before Clarke won on the Kent links, and in 2014, when McIlroy won at Hoylake, the pair had their last tune-up for the final Major of the year together, playing a friendly 18 holes which featured plenty of laughter, especially when Thomas Bjorn, a good friend to both, walked with them down the 16th.


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