Tim Clark is 3 under through 54 holes at the Masters. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tim Clark put himself into position to contend on the back nine on Sunday at the Masters, thanks to a third-round 5-under 67 that is his lowest in 35 career rounds at Augusta National.
Clark, whose lone PGA TOUR victory is the 2010 THE PLAYERS Championship, tore through the front nine Saturday in 5-under 31 before leveling off on the back nine to finish at 3 under for the tournament. He did reach 4 under before suffering a bogey on his final hole.
"It was gettable for me today being firmer, the fairways being firmer anyway, and going off early," Clark said. "The front nine, the greens are somewhat receptive, so I was able to get some birdies early and sort of try and hang on."
Saturday's score was nine shots lower than his second-round score of 4-over 76. Prior to Saturday, Clark had produced just two rounds in the 60s in 11 Masters starts.
One of those 60s came in 2006 when Clark shot a final-round 69 to finish in second place behind winner Phil Mickelson. He has three other finishes in which he's tied for 13th but has also missed the cut six times at Augusta National.
The lengthy course would not seem to suit Clark's game, but he complemented his accuracy with a hot putter in the third round when he needed just 24 putts.
"If you watched me yesterday, I think I missed 10 putts inside 8 feet," he said. "I don't believe it's that much of a putting contest out there. I mean, you've got to hit the ball so good around here, and particularly control your irons. That's all I really did today. I played smart shots. I didn't go at every flag ...
"For me it's really been about the ball striking this week. I've driven it great, hit a lot of fairways and obviously to shoot a round like that you've just got to start to make putts."
MARANA, Ariz. -- Ian Poulter continued to steamroll his way toward a shot at a second Accenture Match Play Championship title with his decisive win over Tim Clark.
Poulter never trailed in the match, which started on the back nine. He took control and a 3-up lead at the turn after Clark closed out the back nine with three straight bogeys.
The Englishman, who won this tournament in 2010 and reached the consolation finals in 2005, then won the third hole with another par and closed out the match with a 7-footer for birdie at the sixth hole.
"It was job done today," Poulter said. "I think my short game was on today. I missed a few greens in the wrong spots, but managed to get up and down. And when I hit greens, I had great birdie opportunities. That's always tough when you make so many pars and make a few birdies to obviously be beaten, and I was pretty pleased with that today."
Poulter's Accenture Match Play Championship record improved to 21-9 with the win. He has not made a bogey in his last two matches.
SCORECARD STATS: Poulter made three birdies and no bogeys. Clark made three birdies and five bogeys.
HOLES WON: Poulter won six holes. Clark won one hole.
NEXT OPPONENT: Steve Stricker, who beat Scott Piercy 1 up.
MARANA, Ariz. -- South African Tim Clark, a No. 15 seed, defeated Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, a No. 10 seed, in the second round at Dove Mountain.
Clark hit 14 of 16 greens and said after the match, "That's the best I've probably hit the ball all year, to be honest with you."
All square after six holes, Clark pulled away starting at the par-4 seventh when he rolled in a 13-foot birdie putt. He followed with a birdie at the par-5 eighth while Olesen found trouble off the tee. Olesen hit a wayward approach shot at the par-4 10th and eventually conceded the hole, putting him 3 down.
Olesen bounced back, stringing together three straight birdies. But he could only win one hole.
Clark was 2 up going into the 14th and added to his advantage with a great approach shot within 5 feet. Olesen had his own birdie attempt from inside 10 feet but couldn't hole it.
Not pleased with his game in the first round, Clark was happy to improve his performance Friday. "It's nice to have that turnaround this quickly," Clark said
Clark has now reached the third round for his third consecutive start in this event.
SCORECARD STATS: Clark carded five birdies and one bogey, Olesen carded three birdies and one bogey.
HOLES WON: Clark won five holes. Olesen won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Clark plays Ian Poulter in the third round of the Snead bracket.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Tim Clark won the 16th and 17th holes with pars to break open a tight match with Adam Scott and take a 2-up victory.
Scott only led twice in the match, for one hole each time, with the first advantage coming as conditions worsened on Wednesday and play was suspended. Scott made an 8-footer for birdie to sqaure the match at No. 7 and then went back to the hotel with a 1-up advantage after Clark bogeyed the par-5 eighth.
The two competitors came back out on Thursday and traded wins at Nos. 9, 10 and 11, which Clark won with a 6-foot birdie putt to square the match again. The next three holes were halved with pars and the 15th with a birdie before Clark broke away at the end.
With his runner-up at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Tim Clark has runner-up finishes in nine consecutive years.
By Ann Miller, for PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU — Tim Clark had never played better than he did at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii and neither had anyone else at Waialae Country Club, until rookie Russell Henley came along.
Clark birdied the final four holes in the last round and still lost ground to Henley on Sunday. Henley won his debut as a PGA TOUR member with a tournament-record 24-under 256, closing with his third 63 of a remarkable week.
That was the third-best 72-hole total in TOUR history. Clark’s 21-under 259 total was in the Top 15 and the lowest of his life. He also closed with 63, pulling away from everybody but Henley.
Clark, who won the 2010 PLAYERS Championship, now has runner-up finishes in nine consecutive years, including Sony in 2011. That week, he suffered an injury in the pro-am and would play just three more rounds the rest of the year. As a rookie, the 35-year-old South African injured his wrist here.
“I either come second here or blow myself out for a year,” Clark said. “Yeah, it’s strange. I love coming here, but it’s … I’ve hurt myself twice and it put me out for two whole years.”
Clearly, Clark is back again. He had three Top 10s last year, including a runner-up at the Wyndham Championship.
“Obviously last year was really me just trying to get back to playing,” he said. “A couple times I felt like I was in contention, certainly in Connecticut I thought I had a chance to win there, and didn't feel great coming down the stretch. And then last year at Greensboro, when Sergio (Garcia) played really well on Sunday and beat me. But that felt pretty good.
“So I was excited about coming out this year, and certainly today I myself felt pretty calm. I wasn't thinking big picture. I was able to stay in every shot. That for me has always been my biggest problem. I get too goal-oriented in thinking about that win, and today I didn't really let that happen. Under normal circumstances that round would have won me the tournament, but I just got outplayed.”
At least Clark came close. No one else could make that claim.
“Tim was pushing me pretty hard out there,” Henley said, grinning. “I wish he wouldn't have done that. That was stressing me out.”
Clark plans to play a lot early this year to try and earn his way into the U.S. and British Opens. The Presidents Cup is also on the horizon.
Now, if he could just find a way around the rookies.
“I'm thinking about that,” Clark grinned. “They should maybe make these guys play somewhere else for a little bit more. It’s great for the TOUR, and the fact that they're such nice guys, you can only be happy for the guy in getting his first win.”
After taking a triple bogey on No. 9 (pictured) Chris Kirk eagled the 18th to go 1-over on par 5s. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
HONOLULU -- The last group on Sunday will be comprised of Russell Henley, Scott Langley and Tim Clark. That’s a pair of rookies and a veteran with victory at the 2010 PLAYERS Championship on his resume. It was critical for Clark to make his birdie putt on the 18th hole to get into that final group. He will be able to know exactly where he stands the entire round and detect any rookie nerves that may be present in Henley and Langley.
Putting: Scott Langley is tied for the lead because he is a good player but he has putted the grass off the greens this week with phenomenal efficiency. The rookie has made 403-feet, 8-inches in putts. He is 40 of 44 on putts measuring 10 feet or less. Langley has hit 37 of 54 greens to rank 44th in the tournament but he is second in total putts and No. 1 in strokes gained - putting.
It happens to everyone: Chris Kirk was 3 under and making a charge until a triple bogey on the par-5 ninth hole. He said two bad swings led to a pair of drops and the eventual eight. In fact, Kirk made a 20 footer just to salvage that triple. Maybe it was just the Golf Gods getting even. Kirk eagled both par 5s on Friday with putts of 3 feet or less. Kirk was back in form at the 18th, holing an eagle chip to shoot 68 and stand at 12 under.
Scrambling: Tim Clark has missed 14 greens the entire week and gotten up and down 13 times. He leads the tournament in scrambling, having played 54 holes with just one bogey. That came on the sixth hole in the third round when Clark missed from 8 feet, 11 inches.
Greens: Once again, the greens were receptive for the entire third round. The moisture content in the putting surfaces allows shots to hold the green. Officials have not watered this week but the naturally wet Hawaiian winter has the greens moist and lush which leads to birdie chances. As a bonus for golfers, the trade winds were a non-factor on Saturday. Winds were less than 10 miles per hour. The forecast calls for winds out of the northwest on Sunday, which could favor experienced players.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
Tim Clark has posted three top 25s in as many events at the Sony Open in Hawaii. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Ann Miller, Special to PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Simply being in Hawaii makes Tim Clark feel better.
The 37-year-old South African came back to the PGA TOUR last year after getting just four starts in 2011 because of tendonitis in his right arm and an elbow injury. The first of those starts was a runner-up finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he ended up two shots back of Mark Wilson.
It marked his third T25 at Waialae Country Club in as many starts. He missed the beginning of the season here in 2012, but a 4-under-par 66 Friday has him feeling healthy and right back at home.
After two rounds, Clark is 10 under and four shots back of leader Russell Henley midway through the second day.
“Obviously a great way to start the year,” Clark said. “Not a whole lot of expectations coming down, but I always enjoy the start of the year. I love coming out here to Hawaii. It’s just such a great place and obviously a course that I really like and have played well at in the past. For me, it’s just a great way to get the year started.”
Clark warmed up for Waialae with a round at Kukui‘ula on Kauai Sunday.
He is bogey-free so far at Sony, with six birdies Thursday and two more Friday, complemented by a short eagle putt on the ninth.
“I hit probably one of my worst tee shots of the day in the left rough and got a good lie,” Clark said. “So I got a good break there and hit a 5-wood up to about 3, 4 feet. It was a good way to get the round going.”
The 2010 PLAYERS Championship winner is still searching for his second title, although he has won more than $19 million on the PGA TOUR and captured four international events. He closed last year with four top 15s, including the 10th runner-up finish of his career, at the Wyndham Championship.
This weekend, he will set his sights on Sony, again. He might be more than 11,000 miles from South Africa, but it feels like home.
“It's strange,” Clark said. “I think when I come here it reminds me a lot of Durban, South Africa, near where I grew up. The weather is the same, the grasses are the same, and it's not an overly long golf course, and it plays firm.
“If you're driving it good, for a guy like me, I'm going to get some run out there and have shorter irons in. It really is just a course that suits me.”
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: After elbow surgery in 2011, Tim Clark was on the comeback trail last year and acquitted himself well with three top-10s and four more finishes of 25th or better. The South African will need to improve his putting, as he slipped from 48th (in 2010) to 123rd in strokes gained.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: The 2012 season marked Clark's eight straight with at least one runner-up finish. Clark, who has 10 seconds in all, picked up this one at the Wyndham Championship which propelled the former N.C. State standout from 109th to 54th in the FedExCup as the Playoffs began. – Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Tim has struggled with his health and his distance in recent years. He averaged 276.7 yards per drive this year, 180th on TOUR and made an average of just three birdies per round. Clark combats those problems with accuracy and mental toughness, winning more than $1.4 million. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: So much has transpired on the golf landscape in the last two years that it would be easy to overlook the fact that he totaled 20 starts in 2012 and recorded three top 10s, including a runner-up finish at Sedgefield. It wasn't a wildly successful return from elbow surgery, but no one expected it to be. Yet, it was vintage in that he ranked third in fairways hit and performed his best on shorter, tighter tracks. I'm all-in at $1.4 million. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 11
Rounds played: 60
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 61st
Driving distance: 180th
Driving accuracy: 3rd
Greens in regulation: 117th
Strokes gained-putting: 123rd
Scoring average: 110th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
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Check out the top five shots of the week from the Wyndham Championship and Dick's Sporting Good Open featuring highlights from Tim Clark, Brendon de Jonge, Sergio Garcia, John Huston, and Willie Wood.