Clarke wins Asian Open on long birdie putt on 18

Clarke wins Asian Open on long birdie putt on 18

SHANGHAI, China (AP) — A long birdie putt on the final hole gave Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke a one-shot victory Sunday in the Asian Open, his first title in five years.

The estimated 25-footer left him at 1-over 73 for an 8-under 280 total, a stroke ahead of Robert-Jan Derksen (73) of the Netherlands.

England’s Robert Dinwiddie shot 74 to share third with Italy’s Francesco Molinari (69) and Taiwan’s Lin Wentang (72).

Clarke missed a series of easier putts to fall back into a tie with Derksen, who appeared to blow his chances with a double-bogey on the 14th after an errant chip went across the green and into the water.

Clarke bogeyed 16 and 17 before his birdie putt on 18. It was his first win on the European or U.S. PGA Tours since 2003, and first since his wife Heather died of cancer in 2006.

“This one is very special,” said Clarke, who yelled with delight after his winning putt. “This is the toughest one of all of them and it’s nice to get back up to where I feel my golf should be. It’s nice to win again and it’s a really, really good feeling.”

Henrik Stenson had a 68 to finish sixth. Greg Norman shot 71 in a rare tournament appearance to finish tied for 14th, eight shots back in the event jointly sanctioned European Tour and Asian Tour.

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