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  Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Patience pays for Clarke
Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke plays from the rough at the 6th hole

Darren Clarke's new-found confidence was the key to his encouraging one-under-par opening round at Royal Lytham.

Clarke recovered from a disastrous double bogey at the par three first to card a satisfactory 70.

"It was not the start I wanted," said the world number nine, who tied for seventh in last year's Open championship at St Andrews.

"I hit a poor tee shot which leaked a little to the right and the ball plugged in a bunker."


I had to keep tellling myself to be patient
Darren Clarke

Clarke recovered one of those dropped shots with a birdie three at the fourth and was level after another birdie three at the 10th.

He let a shot go by taking four at the par-three 12th but then closed with fine birdies at the 17th and 18th.

"I was hitting the ball really well and had great control of the ball flight and gave myself lots of opportunities to get the shots back," said Clarke.

"But the putter was not quite working.

Michael Hoey
Amateur champion Michael Hoey shot 73

"I had to keep telling myself to be patient.

"That is not something I am renowned for.

"In the past I would have tried to force it and made even more mistakes.

"But I waited and fortunately things went for me in the last two holes.

"Links golf tests you everywhere with your golf and your patience. You are bound to get some bad breaks."

Clarke's fellow countryman, Belfast's Michael Hoey, carded a 73.

Quite well

Amateur champion Hoey, who had a closing 64 to finish joint 11th at Loch Lomond last week, dropped shots at holes 5, 12, 14 and 16.

But the Shandon Park player picked up birdies at the 11th and 18th.

"There was pressure out there," said Hoey after his first round in a Major.

"But it was pleasing to perform quite well.

Fell apart

"I was pretty nervous at the first but managed to hole a 15-footer for par and that settled me down."

Paul McGinley had six birdies in his two-under round of 69.

But Padraig Harrington's round fell apart in the closing stages as he had six bogeys in the last seven holes to finish the opening day on four over.

Des Smyth went round in a three-over 74.

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 ON THIS STORY
Darren Clarke
"You are bound to get bad breaks here"
Michael Hoey
"I was pretty nervous at the first"
The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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