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Clarke Hands Title to Lonard

Associated Press
Monday, April 18, 2005; Page D04

Darren Clarke needed just four words to sum up his collapse yesterday in the Heritage on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

"Anybody got a beer?" the Irish star asked.

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On the Next Tee


Event: Houston Open.

When: Today-Sunday.

Course: Redstone Golf Club (7,508 yards, par 72), Humble, Tex.

Purse: $5 million (winner's share $900,000).

TV: USA (Thursday-Friday, 4), WUSA-9 (Saturday-Sunday, 3).

Defending champion: Vijay Singh.


Event: Morelia Championship.

When: Thursday-Sunday.

Course: Tres Marias Residential Golf Club, Morelia, Mexico.

Purse: $1 million (winner's share $150,000).


European PGA: Johnnie Walker Classic, Pine Valley Golf Resort and Country Club, Beijing.

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The dazed Clarke will not soon forget his startling run of bogeys and double bogeys in a closing 76 that handed Australia's Peter Lonard his first PGA Tour title.

"I can't believe I've done what I've done," Clarke said.

Clarke, 9 over on the final 13 holes after birdieing four of the first five holes to take a four-stroke lead, was tied with Lonard entering the final hole.

The drama ended quickly, though, with Clarke losing his ball after pulling his approach into the thatchy beach area next to the green en route to a double bogey. Fans shouted to Clarke, Lonard, their caddies and officials who searched for the wayward shot without success.

Clarke eventually trudged back to the fairway to finish off his double bogey while Lonard, safely on the green in two, chomped a granola bar waiting out his landmark win.

"Obviously, I didn't win it the way I wanted to win it today," Lonard said. "But at the end of the day, if you win, you win. That's what I'm going to take out of it."

Clarke, looking for his first PGA Tour win in two years, was instead left stunned. After all, he played the first 36 holes in a career-best 12-under-par 130.

Lonard's final-round 75 gave him a total of 7-under 277, while Clarke's 76 dropped him into a tie for second at 5 under with five-time Heritage winner Davis Love III (71), Jim Furyk (69) and Billy Andrade (68).

"We were just hanging on for our lives," Lonard said.

Lonard's 75 was the highest final round by a Heritage winner, surpassing Arnold Palmer's 74 in the inaugural event in 1969.

It was hard to keep things straight without a scorecard. Lonard was down by four, then led by one after the eighth hole. He again fell behind Clarke by two shots after a bogey on the 12th hole. But three holes later, Lonard was ahead by a stroke and clung to the victory.

"Things happen out here that you don't think are going to happen," Clarke said. "I didn't think I was going to shoot whatever I shot today."

EUROPEAN PGA: Peter Hanson won the Spanish Open in San Roque, defeating Swedish countryman Peter Gustafsson with a par on the first playoff hole.

Gustafsson shot a 6-under 66 to overtake Hanson, the third-round leader, and finish regulation at 8-under 280. Hanson closed with a 71. Hanson missed the green on the playoff hole, the 18th, but chipped to about 1 foot. Gustafson also missed the green and two-putted.

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