Distraction pulls the rugger from under Clarke

Munster’s Heineken Cup victory over Biarritz cost Darren Clarke a share of the lead going into the final round of the Nissan Irish Open.

Munster’s Heineken Cup victory over Biarritz cost Darren Clarke a share of the lead going into the final round of the Nissan Irish Open.

Clarke was distracted by a giant TV screen showing the match in the hospitality area at Carton House, and missed a tap-in birdie putt on the 18th green.

“I was too busy watching the rugby and just completely went blank,” admitted the Ulsterman, who was able to watch the last 20 minutes of the 23-19 win.

A round of 67 left Clarke one behind Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Londoner Anthony Wall.

England’s Ross Fisher and Sweden’s Peter Hedblom were alongside Clarke on four under par.

Just 24 hours earlier Clarke insisted he was “deriving no pleasure whatsoever” from golf, and could not be “bothered with it any more.”

“I just can’t explain it,” added the 37-year-old, whose focus has understandably been elsewhere as his wife Heather battles cancer.

“I have played so badly now for a week and a half and today I have gone out and played like that and shot a pretty decent score.

“It would be great to win the Irish Open, it’s a tournament I’ve wanted to win for a long time, but we are still a long way from that.”

Casey would no doubt concur with that view after his experiences last week, when he let slip a two-shot lead going into the final round of the British Masters at The Belfry.

The 28-year-old Englishman admitted he had had been given “a talking to” from coach Peter Kostis, but added: “I always feel I try to learn something from every tournament and I certainly feel like I learnt something from last week.

“I’m pleasantly surprised to be back up there and I think becase it’s been tough out there, that’s the reason I’m near the top. I don’t think I’ve done anything special the last three days, it’s just been a lot of hard work.”

Casey has now finished 10th, fourth, fifth and fifth in his last five events and added: “I’m happy with that because I never felt like I was that consistent a player a few years ago.

“Obviously it’s slightly frustrating finishing in the top five all the time and not getting a win. I enjoy winning, whether it’s the club championship or the Irish Open.”

Collated scores and totals in the third round of the European Tour, Nissan Irish Open, Carton House, Maynooth

(Gbr & Irl unless stated, Par 72)

(x) denotes amateurs

211 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 78 66 67, Paul Casey 73 70 68, Anthony Wall 73 68 70

212 Darren Clarke 75 70 67, Ross Fisher 73 70 69, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 72 70 70

213 Jarrod Lyle (Aus) 72 70 71

214 Robert-Jan Derksen (Ned) 72 74 68, Padraig Harrington 71 74 69, Phillip Archer 75 69 70, Paul Lawrie 75 68 71, Tom Whitehouse 73 69 72, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 74 68 72, Ian Poulter 71 70 73, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 73 67 74

215 Gregory Havret (Fra) 76 71 68, Marcel Siem (Ger) 79 68 68, Steven Jeppesen (Swe) 72 71 72, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 73 70 72, Christian Cevaer (Fra) 70 71 74

216 Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 71 74 71, Michael Campbell (Nzl) 72 73 71, Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 73 71 72, Bradley Dredge 71 73 72, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 75 68 73, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 71 72 73, Robert Rock 75 73 68, Andres Romero (Arg) 75 73 68

217 Barry Lane 73 74 70, Richard Bland 76 72 69

218 Ian Garbutt 74 72 72, Christian Nilsson (Swe) 74 71 73, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 75 70 73, David Dixon 74 70 74, Damien McGrane 75 69 74, Peter Lawrie 75 68 75, Colm Moriarty 77 71 70, Stuart Little 74 74 70

219 Stephen Browne 78 69 72, Nick Dougherty 75 72 72, Matthew Millar (Aus) 75 72 72, Marc Warren 75 72 72, David Griffiths 77 70 72, Ariel Canete (Arg) 76 68 75, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 70 77 72, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 71 76 72, Sam Little 75 73 71

220 Soren Hansen (Den) 76 70 74, Peter Gustafsson (Swe) 75 69 76, Iain Pyman 70 73 77, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 76 72 72, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 76 69 72, Gary Orr 77 71 72, David Lynn 74 74 72

221 Alexandre Rocha (Bra) 74 73 74, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 72 74 75, Rafael Gomez (Arg) 75 72 74, Mark Foster 76 72 73, Brett Rumford (Aus) 74 74 73, Carl Suneson (Spa) 77 71 73

222 Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 76 70 76, Anders Hansen (Den) 70 75 77, Johan Edfors (Swe) 69 78 75, Ian Woosnam 77 70 75, Stephen Gallacher 77 71 74, David Higgins 74 74 74

223 Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 75 72 76, Richard McEvoy 76 71 76, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 75 73 75

225 Alastair Forsyth 74 74 77, Steve Webster 72 76 77

226 Simon Dyson 76 72 78

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courtsgolfnissan irish openplace: carton houseplace: englandplace: swedenplace: theplace: maynoothplace: denplace: sweplace: nedplace: nzlplace: argplace: spaplace: braplace: ausplace: itaperson: clarkeperson: darren clarkeperson: paul caseyperson: thomas bjornperson: anthony wallperson: ross fisherperson: peter hedblomperson: heatherperson: caseyperson: peter kostisperson: jarrod lyleperson: robert-jan derksenperson: padraig harringtonperson: phillip archerperson: paul lawrieperson: tom whitehouseperson: robert karlssonperson: ian poulterperson: nicolas colsaertsperson: gregory havretperson: marcel siemperson: steven jeppesenperson: raphael jacquelinperson: christian cevaerperson: maarten lafeberperson: michael campbellperson: martin erlandssonperson: bradley dredgeperson: angel cabreraperson: ricardo gonzalezperson: robert rockperson: andres romeroperson: barry laneperson: richard blandperson: ian garbuttperson: christian nilssonperson: henrik stensonperson: david dixonperson: damien mcgraneperson: peter lawrieperson: colm moriartyperson: stuart littleperson: stephen browneperson: nick doughertyperson: matthew millarperson: marc warrenperson: david griffithsperson: ariel caneteperson: ignacio garridoperson: gonzalo fernandez-castanoperson: sam littleperson: soren hansenperson: peter gustafssonperson: iain pymanperson: francois delamontagneperson: wade ormsbyperson: gary orrperson: david lynnperson: alexandre rochaperson: niclas fasthperson: rafael gomezperson: mark fosterperson: brett rumfordperson: carl sunesonperson: emanuele canonicaperson: anders hansenperson: johan edforsperson: ian woosnamperson: stephen gallacherperson: david higginsperson: mikael lundbergperson: richard mcevoyperson: francesco molinariperson: alastair forsythevent: heineken cupevent: nissan irish openevent: ’s heineken cupevent: irish openevent: ryder cupevent: british mastersevent: european tourorganisation: biarritz
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