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Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 13:57 UK

Darren Clarke jets back after Spanish Open cut chaos

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke had returned to his home in England

Darren Clarke had to hire a private jet to tee off in time for the third round of the Spanish Open after going home after thinking he had missed the cut.

He attempted to catch a flight from London's Gatwick Airport, only to miss it after being caught in a traffic jam.

A private jet for hire was located at Oxford airport and he was able to take off to Malaga at 0200 BST on Saturday.

Clarke shot a level-par 72 on Saturday after making his 0735 tee time at the Real Golf Club de Seville.

The Northern Irishman had a two-hour drive to Seville after his flight.

Clarke said he had 53 minutes of sleep before having to get up and go to the course so he felt "pretty tired" at times during his round.

Clarke had returned home to England before discovering he had scraped into the last two days of the tournament by one shot.

Clarke had shot a 69 in the second round to lie on level par overall, with the cut likely to be set at one under.

"I consulted with Chubby (agent Andrew Chandler) and with 50 years' wisdom of these things between us, we decided that I wasn't going to make it, so I flew home," Clarke told reporters.

"When it looked as though I might make it after all I set back off again to catch a plane from Gatwick back to Seville but turned round when it looked as though I had no chance.

"Then I found I was in. I had no idea where the plane I share with Lee (Westwood) was, so paid for a private plane from Oxford to Malaga."

Clarke said the misjudgment had cost him a "five-figure sum" - an amount he will recoup if he can haul himself up from 59th on completion of his third round to a top-20 finish on the final day.

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see also
Clarke exits after 77 in Malaysia
06 Mar 10 |  Golf

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