The Northern Irishmen was sitting just off the green on his 72nd hole of the Senior Open Championship at Gleneagles Hotel Kings Course in Auchterarder, Scotland. Clarke and Padraig Harrington were tied on the leaderboard, but if Clarke found a way to birdie the final hole, he would be victorious.
Clarke’s third shot from about 30 yards away settled a couple feet from the hole, and he was able to knock in the short putt for birdie, clinching his first senior major title. It’s his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory, and he becomes the fourth men’s golfer in history to win both the Open Championship (2011 at Royal St. George’s) and Senior Open, joining Gary Player, Bob Charles and Tom Watson.
“It was tough right there,” Clarke said. “You know, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I wanted to win this more than anything. From when I turned 50, this is the one you wanted to win, so I could set it beside the other one. Pretty good feeling right now.”
Clarke made only two birdies during his final round of 1-under 69, but it was enough. He birdied seven of the eight par 5s he played all week, his only blemish Sunday coming on the 10th hole. He fought back with a birdie at the 12th hole and then grinded out pars until his birdie putt on the final hole.