clarke-takes-charge-at-senior-open

Clarke takes charge at Senior Open

Darren Clarke produces a strong back-nine performance for a 67 to move ahead after second round of Senior Open; Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer three off pace; watch third round live on Saturday from 1.30pm via the red button and 4pm on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 22/07/22 8:55pm

    Darren Clarke claimed the last of his three PGA Tour Champions wins at the Sanford International last September

    Darren Clarke claimed the last of his three PGA Tour Champions wins at the Sanford International last September

    Darren Clarke carded a three-under 67 at Gleneagles to take the halfway lead in the Senior Open.

    The 2011 Open champion sat just one behind joint-leaders Stephen Ames and Glen Day overnight but produced a solid round in difficult conditions to edge ahead on eight-under 132.

    Clarke, 53, sandwiched a birdie at the fourth with bogeys at the second and seventh on a “slippy” front nine, but matched his inward nine on Thursday with birdies at the 10th, 14th, 15th and 18th.

    The Northern Irishman, who holds a two-shot lead over American Scott Parel, said: “Around the front nine today, I was so-so. I slipped. My right foot slipped a couple of times. But apart from that, I played really nicely.

    “I’m trying to hit a lot of fairways and give myself decent looks. All the way around the back nine, I kept hitting nice shots, and could have been a few better. But, you know, it’s the way it is.”

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    Parel mixed seven birdies with three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par-four 12th in his 68 and was happy with his score after an opening 66.

    “I putted quite well. Didn’t hit the ball maybe quite as good as yesterday but the conditions are a lot tougher, so very happy with 68,” he said.

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    “[There is] a little bit more wind and the tough holes are into the wind. No 12 was a bear today. I hit every shot like I wanted and made a double-bogey. But that’s what you’re going to get here.”

    There are plenty of other potential weekend challengers to Clarke lined up behind him with Padraig Harrington (69), Ernie Els (69) and Bernhard Langer (68) among those on five under.

    Ernie Els won The Open in 2002 and 2012 - will he continue the 10-year run with a Senior Open success?

    Ernie Els won The Open in 2002 and 2012 – will he continue the 10-year run with a Senior Open success?

    Paul Broadhurst (70) and Jerry Kelly (70), who matched Clarke’s opening 65, are also in that group along with Ames (71) and David Frost (68).

    Day slipped back to four under following a 72, while Colin Montgomerie birdied the final two holes for a 66 which put him on the same score along with Miguel Angel Jimenez (67).

    Miguel Angel Martin (70) was only one behind Clarke with three holes to play late in the day but double-bogeyed the 16th and bogeyed the 17th to tumble down to four under.

    Paul McGinley was safely inside the cut mark of three over after a second successive 71, but his fellow Sky Sports pundit Rich Beem finished down on 14 over after back-to-back 77s, while Jose Maria Olazabal, David Duval and Sandy Lyle also missed the cut.

    Watch the Senior Open throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 1.30pm via the red button, before moving to Sky Sports Golf from 4pm.

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