N. Ireland's Clarke Hangs on to Win British Open
Phil Mickelson had given chase
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 17, 2011 12:17 PM CDT
Korea's KJ Choi hits a shot off the 5th tee during the final day of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's golf course Sandwich, England, Sunday, July 17, 2011.    (Tim Hales)
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(Newser) – On another windy, wet and wild day at the British Open, Darren Clarke endured to win the British Open by three shots and give Northern Ireland another victory in one of golf's signature events. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have won the last two U.S. Opens. Now, it's the 42-year-old Clarke, who came into the week as an afterthought next to his homeland's rising stars at Royal St. George's.

Beginning the day five strokes behind Clarke, Phil Mickelson surged up the leaderboard with a brilliant start in hefty wind gusts. The lefthander made three birdies in the first six holes, pumping his fist as the ball kept dropping in the cup. Then he rolled in a 25-footer for eagle at the seventh, moving into a share of the lead. Clarke didn't falter when it mattered. Coming along four groups later in the final pairing, the Ulsterman rolled in a 20-foot eagle of his own at No. 7, reclaiming a two-stroke edge at 7 under. He would bogey Nos. 17 and 18, but with the tournament well in hand. Mickelson finished tied for second with Dustin Johnson.