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US Open: Nightmare for Darren Clarke as he hits rock bottom 80

By Robert Jones

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke had one of the roughest days of his distinguished career in the second round of the US Open at Chambers Bay yesterday, finishing with a 10 over par 80.

The Northern Ireland man, who had hit a first round 77, ended the tournament on 17 over par missing the cut by miles.

As he finished his second round Clarke was bottom of the 156-strong field.

Not what he was hoping for in the second major of the year, even though he had admitted in the build-up that the Chambers Bay course was going to be extremely challenging.

Clarke had been determined to start well to give himself a chance of getting something going but the opposite was true.

In his first hole, the par four 10th, Clarke had a triple bogey seven.

He fought back well from that crushing blow to birdie number 12 only to followed that up with back to back bogeys.

At his sixth hole of the day and the 15th on the course, he hit another birdie but the roller coaster nature of the round with more lows than highs continued.

Clarke had another bogey at 16th before closing his front nine with an ugly six at the 18th to go out in 40.

The slump continued with more bogeys at two, four and seven and nine taking him to 17 over par.

It was a desperate day for Clarke, who is a hugely popular figure in the States and is relishing taking USA on in the Ryder Cup next year. He was not the only former major champion to struggle early on yesterday, though.

American Lucas Glover, who won the US Open in 2009, had a nightmare front nine of 47!

That included a six, seven and quadruple bogey eight.

Birdies and bogeys followed on his back nine as he finished on plus 13 for the day, signing an 83 on his card, and plus 16 overall.

And to think that he started the day on three over par after a 73 on Thursday.

After that round Glover was thinking about being in contention for tournament victory.

Come Friday night, he was relieved to get off the course.

Fellow American Lee Janzen may have felt the same way after a 76 to go with his first round 73 leaving him on nine over for the tournament.

It wasn't all bad though for those out early on the course yesterday.

Four-time major champion Ernie Els showed the way with an even par round of 70 to go with his opening salvo of 72.

The popular South African will enter the weekend in good heart, perhaps even believing he could win the title.

At the Irish Open last month Els stated that he felt he had another major championship in him and you never know, he may be right.

Luke Donald would love to become a major champion one day. He was content with his one over par round of 71 which improved on his opening round of 73 leaving him on four over par.

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