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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 August, 2003, 22:23 GMT 23:23 UK
Clarke wins WGC-NEC
Darren Clarke
Clarke has finally won the title his play this year has deserved
Darren Clarke enjoyed an inspired final round to win the WGC-NEC Invitational in Ohio and deny Tiger Woods on one of his favourite courses.

The Northern Irishman had begun the day one shot ahead of the field but shot a 67 to finish on 12 under and win by four shots.

Victory in the event, where Clarke was third two years ago, ended a 14-month title drought and earned the 35-year-old a massive first prize of 650,000.

Woods had won on his previous three visits to Firestone in Akron, Ohio, but just as in the World Match Play Championship in California three years ago, Clarke held off the American to claim the most prestigious win of his career.

FINAL FIRESTONE LEADERBOARD (US unless stated)
-12 Darren Clarke (GB)
-8 Jonathan Kaye
-7 Davis Love
-6 Tiger Woods, Chris Riley

Clarke made a spectacular start, making a 14-foot putt for an eagle on the 2nd and landing a birdie at the 4th.

Woods went out in 32 to close the gap from five to two and crank up the pressure but Clarke, who also took 32 on the opening nine holes, made birdies at the 9th and 11th before holing a 55-foot putt to pick up a shot at the 12th.

Woods, who has won seven of the 13 World Golf Championship events he has played in, saw his charge falter on the back nine and it was Jonathan Kaye who moved through to become Clarke's closest challenger.

But despite wobbling with dropped shots at the 15th - when he missed from five feet - and the 16th, Clarke held his nerve and finished with three straight pars for a famous victory.

His win means that Clarke is the only golfer other than Woods to have won more than one WGC event.



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