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Tony Adamson reports
"This was Clarke's finest hour after 10 years as a professional"
 real 28k

Coach Butch Harmon
"Darren kicked Tiger's butt"
 real 28k

Monday, 28 February, 2000, 11:17 GMT
Clarke on top of the world

Clarke: $1m richer after his maiden US win
Darren Clarke achieved the biggest win of his career with a stunning triumph over Tiger Woods in the final of the Andersen Consulting World Match Play final.

The 31-year-old Ulsterman romped to a four and three victory over the world No.1 in the 36-hole showdown in San Diego.

Darren flat-out out-played me. I just couldn't hit the shots I needed to apply pressure.

Tiger Woods
Woods, rated by many experts as the greatest talent the game has ever seen, had no answer to the unfancied Clarke, as he turned on the style in the California sunshine to claim the $1m first prize.

"To have my first US Tour victory is great," he said, "but to do it beating the world No.1 in the final and in a field of the best 64 players in the world is just fantastic."
Prize money
Winner: Darren Clarke 625,625
Runner-up: Tiger Woods 312,812
3rd: David Duval 250,250
4th: Davis Love 187,687
Quarter-finalists: Paul Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Scott Hoch, Hal Sutton 93,843
Clarke, who also beat world No.2 David Duval on his way to the final, helped gain some revenge the USA's victory over Europe in the Ryder Cup last autumn.

Woods, a key member of that American team at Brookline, paid tribute to his conqueror: "Darren played beautifully - he missed only one fairway I think in 33 holes."

Outsider

Clarke, a 66-1 shot at the start of the week and seeded 19th, more than matched Woods over the first 18 holes and was unlucky not to be ahead going into the second and final round.

Missed chance: Woods fails with a birdie putt
But he turned on the style in the second round, with five birdies in the first eight holes.

Clarke started working with Woods' own coach Butch Harmon less than a year ago after the worst slump of his career - and the American believes the match-up has helped Clarke focus his abilities.

"I was not surprised," Woods said. "He's played like that all week and he has the ability to play great golf.

"How far he goes in the game now is dependent on how dedicated he is and his work ethic. That's the thing Butch is trying to get him to do."

Second-round salvo

At the start of the second round, Woods responded to Clarke's opening 18-foot putt with a four at the long second, but conceded the fourth to Clarke after missing the green and a 15-foot putt.

I've had the potential for the last few years, but I've had a tendency not to finish things off - I've let a lot of tournaments slip through my fingers.

Darren Clarke
Clarke increased his lead when Woods could not match his eight and 12-foot birdie putts at the fifth and seventh.

The Ulsterman then went four up with only 10 to play after hitting his next iron shot to eight feet and sinking the putt.

Woods hit back by two-putting the long ninth for a winning birdie. But Clarke restored his four hole lead when Woods three-putted the 10th.

Sand king: Clarke closes in on the title
Woods won the 11th with another birdie, but missed a par putt from four feet on the 12th, to give Clarke a four-hole lead, which he never lost.

The pair had halved 14 of the first 18 holes and there was never more than a single hole between them as they both finished the first round of La Costa course at five-under par.

However, even then it was clear that Clarke was in with a good chance, as Woods struggled to find the clinical form which has seen him race to the top of the money list this year.

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See also:

28 Feb 00 | Golf
The man who tamed the Tiger
27 Feb 00 | Golf
Woods and Clarke square off
26 Feb 00 | Golf
Clarke has revenge on Sutton
24 Feb 00 | Golf
Lawrie turns on the style
25 Feb 00 | Golf
Monty crashes out
23 Feb 00 | Golf
Freshman Monty makes US return
22 Feb 00 | Golf
Westwood battling with illness