Clarke victory ends three-year wait for European Tour win

Darren Clarke won his first European Tour event for almost three years at the Iberdrola Open in Majorca after carding a closing 69 to leapfrog Chris Wood on the leaderboard.

Northern Irishman Clarke went into the final day four shots adrift of the 23-year-old Englishman, but Wood could not secure a maiden victory on the tour and carded a disappointing round of six-over-par 76.

Clarke, 42, had almost wiped out Wood’s four-shot overnight lead after three holes, reducing the deficit to one. Last year’s European Ryder Cup vice-captain then found the water on the 11th and the double-bogey that followed could have easily cost him dearly.

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But Wood encountered several problems of his own on the back nine, carding five bogeys before almost picking up a hole-in-one on the 18th.

With Wood floundering, Clarke showed his experience and picked up successive birdies at the 14th and 15th to wrap up a rather comfortable three-shot victory for his 13th European Tour title.

David Lynn ended up tied with compatriot Wood for second place after carding a 70 in the final round.

Clarke was happy to get back to winning ways, but also offered backing to Wood who had looked in an unbeatable position after the third round.

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Clarke said: “It’s a bit of a monkey to get off my back after three years of not winning so it’s good.

“On a personal note I’m delighted to have played quite nicely today and win the tournament. At the same time I feel a lot for Chris Wood – he’s a young guy, a great player and I’ve been in his position before.”

Wood, who also went close to victory at the Africa Open earlier in the year when he suffered a play-off defeat to Louis Oosthuizen, found his final round “a bit of a grind”.

“Obviously I’m disappointed and gutted,” Wood said.

Sheffield golfer Danny Willett endured a tough end to finish nine shots off Clarke.

After firing a first-round 64, the 23-year-old then followed it up with three successive rounds of 73.