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Darren Clarke defends Taiheiyo Masters title

Britain's Darren Clarke successfully defended his Taiheiyo Masters title in Japan after eagling the final hole on Sunday.

The cigar-puffing Northern Irishman rolled in a 40-foot putt in the shadow of Mount Fuji to complete a four-under-par 68 for an 18-under total of 270.

Clarke finished two strokes clear of Japan's Mitsuhiro Tateyama to clinch his third title on the Japanese tour after winning the 2001 Chunichi Crowns tournament.

It was the 15th success of the Northern Irishman's professional career - and the world ranking points will boost his hopes of making the Ryder Cup at the K Club near Dublin next September.

"That's the first time I've defended a title successfully," said Ryder Cup player Clarke, whose 2005 season has been an emotional roller-coaster with his wife Heather suffering from cancer.

"I look forward to trying to make it three in a row next year."

270 Darren Clarke (NIrl) 66 71 65 68

272 Mitsuhiro Tateyama 72 67 66 67

274 Hideki Kase 66 66 70 72

276 Dinesh Chand (Fij) 68 71 68 69, Kaysumune Imai 68 67 73 68

277 Yong-eun Yang (Kor) 72 71 68 66

278 Daisuke Maruyama 69 68 72 69, Toshimitsu Izawa 68 73 68 69, Toru Suzuki 71 70 69 68

279 Sk Ho (Kor) 68 70 70 71, Hisayuki Sasaki 71 68 69 71, Tatsuhiko Takahashi 70 69 70 70

280 Takuya Taniguchi 73 69 70 68, Katsumasa Miyamoto 73 64 71 72, Nozomi Kawahara 71 71 73 65, Ryuichi Oda 69 70 69 72

282 Azuma Yano 70 72 73 67, Jong-duk Kim (Sin) 69 75 70 68, Yusaku Miyazato 72 68 69 73, Steve Conran (Aus) 71 67 69 75, Kiyoshi Miyazato 71 71 70 70, Kazuhiko Hosokawa 68 72 74 68, Scott Laycock (Aus) 70 72 69 71

283 Bubba Watson (USA) 75 70 71 67, Kaname Yokoo 72 71 69 71, Shinixhi Yokota 70 72 71 70, Katsuyoshi Tomori 75 67 70 71, Hideto Tanihara 73 70 72 68

284 Katsunori Kuwabara 72 72 69 71, Chris Campbell (Aus) 70 73 71 70, Kenichi Kuboya 70 69 73 72

285 Justin Leonard (USA) 74 65 74 72, Patrick Sheehan (USA) 72 68 74 71, Kiyoshi Murota 70 70 75 70, Keiichiro Fukabori 74 68 71 72, Tetsuji Hiratsuka 74 70 69 72

286 Makoto Inoue 71 68 69 78, Koaki Idoki 67 74 73 72, Taichi Teshima 73 68 69 76, Takashi Kanemoto 73 71 69 73, Toru Taniguchi 73 70 72 71, Nobuo Serizawa 72 74 69 71

287 Soushi Tajima 75 71 69 72, Tomohiro Kondo 73 67 73 74, Hidemasa Hoshino 73 71 71 72, Christian Pena (USA) 66 73 76 72

288 Tateo-jet Ozaki 73 72 72 71, Nobuhiro Masuda 76 70 69 73, Ryoken Kawagishi 71 75 71 71, Shigemasa Higaki 73 71 72 72

289 Satoru Hirota 72 70 77 70, Yasuharu Imano 75 69 74 71, Yoshiaki Mano 71 75 72 71

290 Thammanoon Srirot (Tha) 75 70 74 71, Wei-Tze Yeh (Tai) 78 67 73 72, David Smail (Nzl) 71 74 73 72, Hirofumi Miyase 75 69 73 73, Tsukasa Watanabe 73 68 74 75, Chawalit Plaphol (Tha 71 75 74 70, Masayuki Kawamura 73 72 73 72

291 Kazuhiro Takami 77 69 69 76

293 Takao Nogami 73 72 71 77, Kiyoshi Maita 73 70 75 75

294 Masashi Ozaki 74 70 74 76

296 Takashi Kamiyama 74 71 75 76

November 14, 2005

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