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February 18 2012

1:30 AM

Clark encouraged despite missed cut

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The way Tim Clark saw it, he had passed the test.

Sure, he shot 82 on Friday and finished at the bottom of the leaderboard at the Northern Trust Open. But Clark played – teeing it up for the first time since a nagging elbow injury forced him to withdraw from THE PLAYERS Championship last May. In his title defense, no less.

And that, in itself, was a small victory for Clark, who had surgery in August to repair the tendon he tore in his right elbow in Hawaii last year.

"I wasn't proud of my score," he acknowledged Friday. "It got a bit frustrating at times. But I had to realize, listen, it's been eight months since I've played. That was to be expected."

Clark knew he had to come out and would likely "get beat up a little bit," he said. His next tournament will be the Transitions Championship and he knows now the areas he needs to shore up.

"It's tough," Clark said. "Obviously, you come to poa annua greens, and it's a different beast. I just couldn't get it in the hole. And there were other things, the touch, the feel shots from 70 to 80 yards. But in terms of driving the ball and full iron shots, it was as good as it was before.

"I didn't know what exactly to expect. The fact that I could get through 18 holes without having any pain is quite nice."

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