Clarke thrives in ‘light breeze’ to win Sanford International

Sanford International

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sanford International has its champion.

The Sanford International has had its share of drama, but this year’s tournament featured its first-ever playoff with Darren Clarke outlasting K.J. Choi and Steve Flesch.

“The three-way playoff was just phenomenal, I mean it was so much fun. We have an unbelievable champion. Darren Clarke is, if not the best, one of the best guys out here, it’s awesome,” Sanford International Tournament Director Josh Brewster said.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Sioux Falls. The fans have been brilliant. I’ve had maybe a little beverage with one or two of them in the past, so it’s been nice to have that atmosphere and that support, it’s always wonderful,” Sanford International champion Darren Clarke said.

Clarke survived an 80-man field and the wind. With wind speeds forecasted to increase throughout the day, tournament officials opted to start Sunday’s final round two hours early.

“With the playoff, glad we did, but yeah the wind was certainly a factor but I think it was a great test of golf for these guys,” Brewster said.

A native of Northern Ireland, Clarke felt right at home.

“This is a light breeze at home, this isn’t really a strong wind. The only difference here is at home it’s about 30, 40 degrees colder and a bit of rain, so this is tricky but nothing new to me. You give me windy conditions and I welcome them,” Clarke said.

Brewster says this year’s tournament left him speechless and excited for the future of the Sanford International.

“We’re going to take a little bit of a breath but yes, I can’t wait for the 2022. Every year it seems like we have great champions. I’m not sure how we’re going to top it, but we’re going to figure it out,” Brewster said.

Clarke is the fourth different champion in the tournament’s four-year history and will defend his title the week of September 12th in 2022.

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