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Darren Clarke holds on to win The Senior Open

Sportsnaut
The tee kicks up near Darren Clarke's face as he tees off on the last day of the Sanford International golf tournament on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at the Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls.Darren Clarke 002
Credit: Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland made a two-putt birdie at the 18th hole Sunday to win The Senior Open Championship at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland.

Clarke escaped Padraig Harrington’s late rally by sinking the birdie to polish off a 1-under-par 69 and finished 10-under 270 for the week. Harrington birdied six holes on the back nine to shoot a 67 and set the clubhouse pace at 9-under 271 before Clarke’s finish.

After his second shot landed just shy of the 18th green, Clarke nailed a perfect lag putt from the fairway that nestled within a few feet of the back pin location, allowing him to tap in for the title.

Not only did the 53-year-old win his first senior major championship, but he also became the fourth player in history to win both The Open Championship and The Senior Open, joining Gary Player, Tom Watson and Bob Charles. Clarke won The Open in 2011 at Royal St. George’s.

Heavy rain interrupted the end of Sunday’s round, with a roughly two-hour delay ending at 8 p.m. local time. Before the delay, Clarke opened his round with nine straight pars and a bogey at the par-5 10th before birdieing the par-4 12th for a one-stroke lead.

Harrington, 50, who won last month’s U.S. Senior Open in his debut, had a rough start with a bogey at No. 7 and a double bogey at No. 9. He made birdie at No. 10 to kick-start a red-hot back nine that wasn’t tempered by the rain delay. His birdie-birdie finish wrapped up a 30 on the back nine and put himself in front before Clarke won it on No. 18.

Clarke led after two rounds and shared the 54-hole lead with England’s Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 champion.

Broadhurst shot a 1-over 71 Sunday and was one of six players to tie for third at 8 under, joining Mauricio Molina of Argentina (65 on Sunday), Doug Barron (65), Ernie Els of South Africa (68), Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand (68) and Steven Alker of New Zealand (70).

Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie shot 69 and finished alone in ninth at 7 under. Fellow Scot Paul Lawrie (67) tied for 10th at 5 under with Y.E. Yang of South Korea (69).

–Field Level Media