Darren Clarke made his debut in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the PGA Tour Champions this year and took to the course right away, posting a 63 in Thursday’s opening round at Hualalai Golf Course in Hawaii.
He was really good in Saturday’s final round, too, torching the back nine with six birdies en route to a 64. He stuffed his approach on 16 to about two feet, setting up a birdie, and then drained a 50-foot putt on 17 for another birdie which opened up a two-shot lead over Retief Goosen.
When Goosen later parred the 18th hole, Clarke could cruise home. He tapped in for par on the last to win by two shots.
“One of those things, when you get yourself in there, I’ve been out on this tour long enough now to know that you’ve got to keep on going. You can’t – there’s no unassailable lead because the guys make birdies, you saw that today. That’s just the way it is. You have to play well and you have to stay aggressive and I was able to do that,” Clarke said.
Mitsubishi Electric Championship: Leaderboard
Clarke’s win last November in the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Florida, was his first anywhere since the 2011 Open Championship. But visa issues meant he had to be out the U.S. three days later so was unable to travel to the Phoenix Country Club for the final event of 2020, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
So Clarke went home for the holidays for an extended break and now, after that nine-year victory drought, has two wins in his last two starts.
What a CLUTCH putt from Darren Clarke!
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) January 24, 2021
Bernhard Langer finished tied for 17th and maintains his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup points race. Miguel Angel Jimenez, the event’s defending champion, finished tied for 17th. Hale Irwin, who made his 25th start at Hualalai, finished last in the 42-man field.
The PGA Tour Champions kicked off the 2021 portion of its schedule at the Four Seasons Resort along the Kona-Kohala coast. The 24-year-old Jack Nicklaus-designed course recently underwent a significant renovation but the venue kept a streak alive: Hualalai became the first course to host a Champions event 25 consecutive years.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/23/darren-clarke-wins-hawaii-first-event-2021-pga-tour-champions/