Darren Clarke takes to the 18th green Picture: Barry Goodwin
by Mike Rees
Darren Clarke lifted the Claret Jug and was crowned 2011 Open champion after an enthralling final day at Royal St George’s on Sunday.
The 42-year-old Irishman, playing in his 20th Open, carded a fourth round level par 70 to finish on 275 and three shots ahead of Americans Dustin Johnson and four-time Major winner Phil Mickelson. Denmark ’s Thomas Bjorn was fourth.
Clarke, starting with a shot lead over Johnson, birdied the par-4 2nd hole but gave the shot back by bogeying the fourth. An eagle three at the par-5 7th helped him to the turn in 33.
He showed remarkable composure to par the first seven holes of the back nine and despite bogeying the 17th and 18th, he still had a big enough lead to take the £900,000 winner’s cheque.
World No.111 Clarke, whose best previous finish in the Open came back in 1997 when he finished runner-up to Justin Leonard, played with remarkable composure during a day of difficult weather conditions.
Mickelson briefly shared the top of the leaderboard at five-under after three birdies and an eagle at the 564-yard par-5 7th but four dropped shots in six holes saw his challenge to overtake Clarke fade.
England ’s Tom Lewis, 20, (right) won the Silver Medal for the leading amateur when he finished on nine-over after a final round 74.
Lewis, from Welwyn Garden City, whose opening five-under-par 65 saw him joint first round leader with Thomas Bjorn, carded a final round 74 to finish on 289 – three shots ahead of US Amateur champion Peter Uihlein.