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Clarke Returns

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006 the Madrid Open Golf Masters tournament formally opened at La Moraleja II golf course.

After Heather Clarke died of breast cancer last Aug. 13, this was Darren Clarke’s first tournament. He was eight strokes back in his first tournament since his wife's death.

Clarke takes lead in return to action. He shot 4 under 68 leaving him three strokes behind Jean-Francois Lucquin after the first round in the Madrid Masters.

Clarke made bogeys at Nos. 2 and 4 and shot a 72 to drop him to 2 under after finishing Thursday's first round _ his first since a missed cut at the British Open on July 21 _ with a 68. He rallied with birdies at Nos. 6 and 9 and made up for a bogey on No. 16 with a birdie on No. 17.

"I'm delighted with the way I'm hitting the ball from tee to green," Clarke said. "I had a lot of chances, just the putter wasn't working. I'm just struggling on my pace  I can't get to the hole, they're just a little bit slow."

Finally, Georgian wins Mid-Amateur title. Also at Flagstaff, Arizona, Georgia insurance agent Dave Womack won the U.S. Mid-Amateur to likely earn a spot in the Masters, holing a 5-foot par putt on the 36th hole for a 1-up victory over Ryan Hybl.



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