Photo courtesy of Scott Halleran
It might have taken him 40 starts, but Darren Clarke is finally a winner on the PGA Tour Champions.
Needing a birdie on the 18th hole on Sunday at the TimberTech Championship, Darren Clarke safely two-putted from 40 feet to get his first professional win since the 2011 Open Championship and prevent Bernhard Langer from successfully defending his 2019 title.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities the last few years, so it’s great to finally win one,” Clarke said. “I wouldn’t be working this hard if I didn’t think I could still win.”
It had appeared that Langer, a Boca Raton resident, was well on his way to back-to-back victories at the Old Course at Broken Sound and three in the last 10 years. He held a 1 shot lead heading to the 15th tee when he put his tee ball in the water to make bogey. He followed that up with a bogey on 17, allowing Clarke the chance to win the event with a birdie on 18. Clarke hit a 6-iron from 193 yards out on his 2nd shot on the par 5 18th. Facing a 40 footer for eagle and needing only a birdie to win, Clarke safely lagged his eagle putt to about a foot before tapping in for birdie and the victory.
Langer made birdie on 18, but those two bogeys coming down the stretch proved costly as he lost by 1 shot.
“I could feel something wasn’t right with my swing and it showed up over and over,” Langer said. “I hit probably six or seven tee shots just way right and that's going to bite you sooner or later and it did on 15. You can’t hit it right on 15.”
Also finishing in a tie for 2nd was Jim Furyk who was seeking his third PGA Tour Champions win in his first 5 starts. John Daly, who held the first round lead after Friday, struggled on the weekend going 73-71 to finish in a tie for 26th.
Prior to the 2020 season, the TimberTech Championship had been elevated to a PGA Tour Champions playoff event. However, due to the scheduled changes as a result of Covid, it was changed back to a regular, full-field event for 2020. It will make its debut as a playoff event in 2021.