Clarke's Birdie Blitz in the Desert
Darren Clarke gave an indication of his season's intent on Sunday
and finished in a blaze of birdies.
Clarke, who had not been able to buy a putt all week at the Dubai
Desert Classic, bagged six birdies in succession to climb into
11th place behind first-time Dutch winner Robert-Jan Derksen.
The Ulsterman stood on the 13th tee wondering if his luck on
the greens would never change and the answer came immediately
as he birdied all of the last six holes. The run hauled him into
a position of respectability just ahead of ISM colleagues Mark
Foster (Tied 13th) and David Park (T16).
Derksen collected his first Tour win when he birdied the last
and world No.2 Ernie Els failed to do so after going through the
back of the par five in two. A fluffed chip led to the South African's
downfall, proving that even the world's best are susceptible to
error when the pressure is at its greatest.
Lee Westwood's recovery continued with a commendable 38th and
the former European No.1 expects to continue the upward graph
after two years plummeting down the world rankings. "All
the hard work I have put in this winter is starting to have an
affect on my game and I hope to e contending again in the near
future," he said.
Doncaster's Ian Garbutt shot the low round of the week, but he
was unable to build on his 63 of the second day and was disappointed
to finish 52nd.
Ryder Cup hero Paul McGinley's search for consistency continues
as he sandwiched a 77 between rounds of 69 and 67 to finish 47th.
Over on the Challenge Tour, Louis Oosthuizen finished 5th in the
Stanbic Zambia Open, seven shots ahead of ISM stablemate Sandeep
10th March 2003
by Martin Hardy on behalf of ISM