Darren Clarke leads The Senior Open at the halfway stage

Darren Clarke in action during the second round of the Senior Open. Credit: Phil Inglis/Getty Images.

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Four birdies in his final six holes saw Darren Clarke take a one-stroke lead into the third round of The Senior Open at Sunningdale Golf Club.

The Dungannon golfer added a three under par round of 67 to his opening 65 to reach eight under par. He is one stroke ahead of defending champion Bernhard Langer and American Jerry Kelly on seven under par.

Good round 2 start

The 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year started well with birdies at the first and the third. Three bogeys in a row from the sixth threatened to derail his round. He quickly bounced back with five birdies and only a single dropped shot in his final ten holes.

“I got a couple of birdies on the first three holes and made some poor swings,” Clarke admitted. “Pleased that I finished on 8-under because the wind was swirling about a little bit,” he added.

“It would be huge to win,” conceded the Tyrone man. “But you know, we’re all long enough in the tooth to know this is only two rounds and a lot of golf to be played yet. I would love to have this trophy sitting beside the Claret Jug. Got to go work on some iron play, my iron play wasn’t there especially around the front nine today but other than that drove the ball well. Really in the mix come Sunday afternoon and would love to improve.”

Big names in chasing pack

Clarke’s playing partner Ernie Els shares fourth place with two-time Senior Major Champion Paul Broadhurst on six under par. The Englishman’s five under 65 the joint-low round of the day.

Four players share sixth place on four under par including 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, 2018 Senior Open winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Sweden’s Jarmo Sandelin and Japan’s Yoshinobu Tsukada.

The cut fell at five over par, with 79 players surviving to compete over the weekend in Berkshire.

Round two select scores

132 D CLARKE 65 67, 
133 J KELLY (USA) 67 66, B LANGER (GER) 66 67,
134 E ELS (RSA) 67 67, P BROADHURST (ENG) 69 65,
136 I WOOSNAM (WAL) 68 68, M JIM?NEZ (ESP) 69 67, J SANDELIN (SWE) 69 67, Y TSUKADA (JPN) 71 65,
137 P FOWLER (AUS) 67 70, J REMESY (FRA) 68 69, T BJ?RN (DEN) 68 69, D SHACKLADY (ENG) 69 68, R GONZALEZ (ARG) 66 71, S DODD (WAL) 66 71, M MARTIN (ESP) 70 67, W SHORT JR (USA) 67 70,
138 T PERNICE JR (USA) 70 68, W CHAPMAN (USA) 70 68,
139 P PRICE (WAL) 67 72, J KINGSTON (RSA) 65 74, P EALES (ENG) 69 70, P WILSON (ENG) 68 71, T LEHMAN (USA) 68 71, W AUSTIN (USA) 69 70, J COCERES (ARG) 67 72,
140 C MONTGOMERIE (SCO) 68 72, M MOLINA (ARG) 73 67, J CARRILES (ESP) 71 69, G ORR (SCO) 70 70, M GOGEL (USA) 68 72, K TANIGAWA (USA) 70 70, G DAY (USA) 75 65, B SOWARDS (USA) 71 69,
141 R CHAPMAN (ENG) 71 70, P BAKER (ENG) 73 68, D PRIDE (USA) 68 73, F QUINN (USA) 71 70, D COPSEY (ENG) 69 72, R BEEM (USA) 71 70, P GOLDING (ENG) 71 70,
142 M RIDLEY (ENG) 70 72, R ALLENBY (AUS) 67 75, T LEVET (FRA) 68 74, C WHITELAW (RSA) 73 69, S HENDERSON (SCO) 70 72, T FOSTER (AM) (ENG) 72 70, S KENDALL (USA) 73 69, P MCGINLEY 69 73, A CEJKA (GER) 71 71, J FURYK (USA) 70 72,

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