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Old Dogs Bite Back

Dad's army show the kids how it's done at Sandwich

Posted Jul 19, 2011 by Chris White

This was the first major in his career

At a dismal weekend weather wise at the 140th Open Championship, it was two of the older players topping the leader board by the end, with Darren Clarke winning his first Open title in 20 attempts with a final round 70 at Sandwich.

Clarke became the first British winner since Paul Lawrie back in 1999, doing so with a final score of five under par, holding off the efforts of another 40-plus man, Phil Mickelson, who finished with a better final round than Clarke, carding a 68, but unfortunately for the American, it was still three strokes more overall than the Northern Irishman took around the Royal St George’s course.

The tournament itself was blighted by blustery winds and heavy rain, with only four players finishing the competition under par – Clarke (5 under par), Mickelson (2 under par), Dustin Johnson (2 under par), and Thomas Bjorn (1 under par).

The tournament just goes to show that you can’t write off the old dogs just yet. While all the talk going into the Open was about US Open winner Rory McIlroy, world number one Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and the likes of Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer, Clarke, Mickelson and Bjorn are the three to come out of the contest with the biggest plaudits.

It is true that in sport, the youngsters do eventually oust their older opponents, but golf is one of those games where you just cannot discount anybody, because, on their day, all it takes is a little nous from those experienced heads and a bit of composure, and any of them can walk away with the trophy at the end of the week.

Mickelson started the day five strokes off the lead, but carded 30 around the front nine, picking up another shot at the tenth to close the gap to one. Clarke led the tournament by one shot from Johnson going into the final round, but picked up shots regularly to pull clear and never look back. Bjorn was joint leader of the competition at the end of day one, with English amateur Tom Lewis (9 over par).

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