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Clarke Cruises to Victory in Japan

Darren Clarke notched his second career victory in Japan when he cruised to a six shot success in the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters at the Taiheiyo Club in Gotemba.

The 36 year old Ryder Cup player, who had led since his opening round of 66, completed the week in style with a final round 68 for a 22 under par total of 266, well ahead of his two nearest challengers, International Sports Management stablemate Lee Westwood and the host country’s Nozomi Kawahara.

Four shots clear at the start of the final round, Clarke gave the chasing pack hope when he dropped a shot at the second hole, but quickly made amends with birdies at the third, fifth and sixth to put the destination of the title beyond doubt and continue his run of having won at least once around the world in every season since 1998.

Turning for home the Ulsterman, who won The Crowns Tournament in Japan in 2001, was flawless, his only departures from par coming at the two par fives on the Taiheiyo Club’s inward half, the 11th and the 18th, where he carded birdie fours.

Lee Westwood
Westwood, winner of the event three years in succession from 1996-1998, once again showed his fondness for the tournament with a strong finish, matching Clarke’s 68 to share second with Kawahara, who posted a final round 70.

The excellent week for The European Tour contingent in the Far East continued when Graeme McDowell returned a final round 69 for a 13 under par total of 275 to claim a share of sixth place

Courtsey of: www.europeantour.com

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