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July 6, 2006

Darren Clarke


DARREN CLARKE: I played well for the most part. I had a couple of stupid shots that I wasted and three putts and missed a lot of putts from six feet but overall a pretty good score.

Q. And the birdie on 18 was just the icing on the cake?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, I hit a good tee shot. Ha a horrific lie and could only move it 80 yards max and hit a very good seven iron from 172 yards and gave myself the chance to make birdie. It was nice to make the putt on the last.

Q. You said you didn't know how sharp you would be, but six birdies suggests it wasn't bad?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, but three very foolish thrown away shots. If I was competitively sharp I probably wouldn't have done that and shot 5- or 6-under, but in saying that I am pleased with three under.

Q. Has the course changed much since 2004?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, it was certainly a lot more playable that a few years ago. The weather was so bad a couple of years ago. It's a challenge this course, but you can see the scoring is a lot better. Hopefully I can get off to a good start tomorrow and get a few more under par.

Q. What about the crowds?

DARREN CLARKE: Fantastic. It's always great when there are people out here watching and it's good that they let the people in free it's much better to play in front of 29,000 than 2000 people. It's fantastic. I am not saying they should do it free every day, but to get a crowd like this at home is great. It was nice to knock in a few putts and they backed me when I knocked in some birdie putts.

Q. You won this trophy here for the RBS Shot of the Month for May (at Carton House). Can you explain what you are doing with it?

DARREN CLARKE: The media voted for me and it was very kind of people to vote for me, but it's not as if I hit a 3-iron to win a tournament on the last hole. I just did the right thing and it's very nice to receive it but I am going to put it up for auction along with the £1000 charity prize and I am going to raise some more and it will all go to Breast Cancer.

Q. Have you had any accolades for what you did at Carton House?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't deserve any accolades.

Q. But did you get any?

DARREN CLARKE: I had a few messages. I had a very nice one from Tim Finchem (Commissioner of the PGA Tour) and a few bits and pieces, but at the end of the day you have to do the right thing and that to me was the right thing. I had no other option. Hopefully somebody will see the good side of having this trophy and pay a lot for it.

Q. Are you auctioning it on your Website?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, and I think through The European Tour Website. I hope it can raise a few more quid for a very worthy cause.

Birdies? - the seventh, a sand wedge to six feet and coaxed it in. Next I hit 9-iron to 12 feet and holed it; 14 I hit driver off the tee and 9-iron to ten feet and holed it; 15 a wood 3-wood off the tee and a sand iron to 15 feet and holed it; next one a good drive and eight iron to 15 feet and holed it. The last I pushed the drive a little bit in a horrific lie and chopped it out and seven iron onto the green and holed the putt.

It was nice to make a few birdies coming in with the way I was hitting the ball. Couple of missed putts. I didn't touch the hole from six feet at the tenth and didn't touch the hole from five feet at the next. Silly bogeys from nowhere.

Q. Have you seen crowds like this at an Irish tournament?

DARREN CLARKE : Not for a long time. It was brilliant. Especially Ulster Bank and the Irish Tourist Board. When we are broadcasting pictures around the world to show how good it is in Ireland it can only help to have big crowds. I think it's a great idea.

End of FastScripts.

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