It wasn’t momentum that Darren Clarke was riding, though on Sunday he won his second straight PGA Tour Champions start, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Clarke, 52 and not, shall we way, in fighting trim, is one of the few senior players who uses a golf cart to ferry himself around the golf course.
Suffice it to say, he’s enjoying the ride. The affable Northern Irishman, the 36-hole co-leader, shot a final-round eight-under-par 64 to win the first senior event of 2021.
Clarke completed 54 holes in 21-under 195. Retief Goosen, who began the round two shots back, also shot a 64 and finished second. Jerry Kelly, the 36-hole co-leader, shot a 68 and finished third.
Momentum, meanwhile, can’t explain two in a row for Clarke, given that more than two months separated his second senior victory from his first, in the TimberTech Championship in November.
“I sort of broke through in Boca [TimberTech] and I sort of liked the feeling of that,” he said. “But down in Abaco [his home in the Bahamas] straight after. Went down there with my group of mates. We play all the time. I give them lots of shots and all that sort of stuff and just keeping me competitive. I worked and practiced nearly every day from the break.”
The outcome came down to virtual match play between Clark and Goosen, and Clarke prevailed by making six birdies on the back nine, including two straight, at the 16th and 17th, that delivered the margin of victory.
It is not a new season, only a new year. When the pandemic reduced the senior tour schedule to only 15 events in 2020, a decision was made to include 2021 tournaments in a wraparound season.
On that note, then, Clarke joined Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson as the only players to have won back-to-back starts in 2020-21 season.