Darren Clarke, 42, ran away with The Open Championship on the back nine with solid decision making and steady putting. It was Clarke’s first major championship victory.
Minnesotan Tom Lehman records a Top 25 finish
Tom Lehman was in serious contention through 36 holes this weekend, just three shots off the pace. After a difficult Saturday, in which Lehman shot a three over 73, he couldn’t re-capture the magic of Thursday and Friday. He concluded the tournament six over par but tied for 23rd, along with links golf legend (and eight time major champion) Tom Watson.
Lehman plans to participate in next month’s 3M Championship at T.P.C. Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, as part of the Champions Tour. However, expect him to make some noise at next year’s Open Championship, as it will be played at the sight where he captured the Claret Jug in 1996, Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Overcoming adversity: a theme at recent majors
Rory McIlroy overcame a dreadful final round second nine at The Masters in April to dominate the U. S. Open last month at Congressional. Thomas Bjorn double bogeyed the 16th hole at Royal St. George’s to lose his late lead and the The Open Championship in 2003. He led after the first round this year and finished fourth.
Phil Mickelson shunned his record of poor performances on links courses by temporarily sharing the lead on Sunday and eventually finished tied for second with fellow American Dustin Johnson.
Champion Darren Clarke overcame previous adversity of his own. Clarke, from Northern Ireland, has seen his fair share of the religious fighting occurring near the Belfast area. Sadly, in 2006, Clarke’s wife, Heather, lost a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was only 39.
Clarke returned to golf after his wife’s death and was a stellar producer in that year’s Ryder Cup for the victorious Europeans. Now, he is engaged again and possesses the ever-coveted Claret Jug. One of the more well-liked individuals in golf has overcome personal adversity with amazing success.
Emerald Isle: the new home of golf dominance?
The countries of Ireland and Northern Ireland have garnered six of the last seventeen majors. Ireland’s Padraig Harrington won three majors between 2007 and 2008, including two Open Championships.
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy went back to back at the U. S. Open in 2010 and 2011. Now Clarke adds another to the group. Further, these men have won at three of the four majors, with only The Masters not on the list – yet.