Clark wins first Tour event since August 2009

Clark wins first Tour event since August 2009

June 24th, 2011

Graeme Clark has won his first PGA EuroPro Tour tournament since August 2009 after a dramatic final day at The Rusty’s Travel Classic at Longhirst Hall, Northumberland.

Clark sealed the £10,000 first prize after edging out James Busby in the first hole of a play-off after the pair had finished on -3 after three rounds of golf.

The victory takes Clark to the top of the Order of Merit after he also finished second at Burhill in Surrey earlier in the month.

He has enjoyed great success on the EuroPro Tour having finished top of the Order of Merit in 2007 and, with more than £16,000 pocketed from the first four events, is well placed for a return to the Challenge Tour.

Clark (Doncaster) had an unsuccessful time on the Challenge Tour in 2008 but feels he is better equipped to cope at that level now.

“I struggled a bit that year and I wasn’t organised enough and it was a big difference flying everywhere compared to driving everywhere,” admitted Clark.

“You would come back on the Sunday and be flying out again on the Monday. But now the Challenge Tour is a big target for this year but I have to keep concentrating and I’m a more consistent player now.

“This win means a lot and it’s a big win for me and my family. You just have to keep working hard – that’s all you can do. I’ve got a lot of confidence at the moment and I’ve been up there but it’s nice to be in the final group and actually win.”

Clark started the final day with a share of the lead alongside three other players all on -4 but a double bogey at the fourth saw him lose his advantage.

However, he responded well with three successive birdies between the tenth and 12th before holding his nerve in the play-off as Busby’s attempt for par on the first extra hole lipped out.

Busby (The Shropshire) claimed second place for the second time this season after a similar finish at Wensum Valley in Norfolk and moved up to fifth in the money list.

Scotland’s Lee Harper (Archerfield Links, East Lothian) looked to be joining Busby and Clark in the play-off but bogeyed the last, although his third place finish is still his best Tour performance since he won at Selsdon Park, Surrey, in September 2007.

Chris Hanson (Woodsome Hall, Huddersfield) and Trevor Jones (Whipsnade Park, Hertfordshire) also shared the lead at the start of the final day but both players finished in tied fourth after rounds of 73 (+3) saw them end on -1.

Hanson, who was aiming to become the first player in six seasons to win back-to-back events after triumphing at Bovey Castle last week, made a birdie at the fourth but four bogeys between the 10th and 15th cost him dearly.

Jones also started his last round solidly but his hopes were dashed with a triple-bogey seven at the par-four eighth.

Highlights from Longhirst Hall will be broadcast on Sky Sports on July 6 and the next Tour event takes place at Galgorm Castle, Ballymena, Northern Ireland from June 29 to July 1.

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