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Darren Clarke seeks return to form in Spain

Darren Clarke, armed with a tip from his former coach Pete Cowen, goes into this week's Spanish Open looking to claw his way back up the world rankings.

To try to find consistency the 38-year-old from Northern Ireland is starting a run of five consecutive tournaments, finishing with the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"I've not done five in a row for a very long time," Clarke told reporters at the Centro Nacional course on Wednesday. "I've been working with Lead (coach David Leadbetter) a little bit and I got a tip from Pete on the range so I'm very hopeful about this week."

Clarke, who lost his wife Heather last year after a long battle with cancer, has dropped to 69th in the rankings having once been as high as ninth.

His record includes 10 European Tour titles and a 2000 WGC-Accenture Match Play final victory over world number one Tiger Woods.

Clarke's best finish this season was a tie for 20th at the Dubai Desert Classic.

He missed the cut at the U.S. Masters earlier this month before taking a break in the Bahamas with his young sons Tyrone and Conor.

"The reasons are obvious why it takes a little bit longer to get back to a normal life but I didn't think it would take as long as this," he said.

"I just have to be patient though and I'm sure my game will turn around."

Clarke's previous trip to Madrid came last September when he played for the first time since his wife's death, the week before helping Europe to victory at the Ryder Cup in Ireland.


April 25, 2007

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