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Darren Clarke hoping to find form in Singapore

Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke said Tuesday he'll ride out his barren patch by just plugging away and playing, and will not force any changes to his game.

Clarke, currently ranked 52nd in the world, has not won an individual tournament since the 2003 WGC-NEC Invitational.

"I have just got to keep on playing and doing what I am doing," Clarke said ahead of the Singapore Masters, which begins Thursday. "I have not been known for my patience in the past, I have tried to force things a little too much. But at the minute I am having to be patient."

Among the top players who've made swing changes after barren spells include World No. 1 Tiger Woods, a close friend of Clarke's.

The Northern Ireland golfer has also been spending more time with his children following the death of his wife, Heather, who died of breast cancer at the age of 39 in August last year.

Just a few weeks after her death, he was selected as a wild card on Ian Woosnam's European Ryder Cup team, and was clutch -- winning all three of his matches.

The jet-lagged Clarke said he is confident he is moving in the right direction. "It's definitely little small steps at the moment which is a little bit frustrating, but I'll just keep on going."

Clarke is in Singapore for the first time, and is joined by Ryder Cup teammates David Howell and Lee Westwood of England. Outgoing Ryder Cup captain Woosnam is also at the US$1.1 million (?846,000) tournament, played at the Laguna Golf and Country Club.

Defending champion Mardan Mamat of Singapore, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant, and Japan's Shingo Katayama are among the top Asians in the field.

Katayama is another golfer trying to find form.

Despite being atop the Japanese Tour, he told reporters, like Clarke, he too is trying to find his game ahead of April's Masters in August.

"I'm not quite ready yet and would like to figure out what I need to do to play well in The Masters and that's why I'm playing here his week," Katayama said through a translator.

The Singapore Masters 2007 is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.


March 7, 2007

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