Despair for bridesmaid Clark

2010-01-26 08:52

Los Angeles - South African Tim Clark had to settle for the bridesmaid role once again on the PGA Tour on Monday after he missed an eight-footer for birdie on the final hole of the Bob Hope Classic at La Quinta, California.

His putt slid past the right edge of the cup and, moments later, Bill Haas birdied the same hole to win the title by a shot over fellow Americans Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson, plus Clark.

Despite ending a rain-protracted week in the California desert on top of the putting statistics, Clark bemoaned a lack of comfort on the greens during the fifth and final round.

"The score was good but I'm a little disappointed how I felt out there," the straight-hitting South African told reporters after closing with a seven-under-par 65 on the Palmer Private course at PGA West.

"I didn't feel great with the putter. It was a bit of a struggle all day. A lot of the birdies I had were tap-ins.

"On the front nine, I let a few 10, 15-footers get away from me, like the putt that I had on the last there too.

"I just wish I had felt a little bit better on the greens because I thought there was a low round out there for sure."

Clark, who averaged only 25.8 putts per round during the tournament, posted his eighth runner-up finish on the PGA Tour and his second at the event, having also finished second at the Hope in 2005.

Tied for the lead at 29 under playing the par-five last, he decided against trying to reach the green in two and instead laid up to rely on his renowned wedge game.

The ploy would have worked and got him into a playoff with Haas had he made the eight-foot putt.

"At the end of the day, I did what I needed to, to give myself a best look at birdie there," said Clark, who had the opportunity to go for the green in two from 231 yards.

"I certainly didn't want to throw away the tournament. A great (second) shot is probably going to either leave me a long two-putt or a chip from the back of the green. I didn't want either.

"So I tried to play it the way I played the whole round and the whole week. I don't want to get ahead of myself and try and do anything silly."

Clark, a three-time winner on the European Tour, is yet to triumph on the PGA Tour in 197 career starts.

Leading final-round scores on Monday in the 90-hole Bob Hope Classic (USA unless noted):

330 - Bill Haas 68-66-66-66-64

331 - Matt Kuchar 67-69-67-65-63, Tim Clark (RSA) 70-63-67-66-65, Bubba Watson 66-62-68-69-66

332 - Alex Prugh 64-66-65-70-67

334 - Mike Weir (CAN) 67-67-67-67-66

336 - D.J. Trahan 69-68-65-68-66

337 - Kevin Na 69-66-67-69-66, Matt Jones (AUS) 69-67-69-66-66

338 - Chad Collins 67-64-69-70-68, Vaughn Taylor 66-67-73-65-67, Brandt Snedeker 70-69-65-66-68, Ryan Moore 69-67-66-67-69, Kevin Streelman 70-71-63-64-70

339 - Brian Gay 71-65-70-68-65, Kevin Sutherland 69-71-68-65-66, Steve Elkington (AUS) 69-65-68-68-69