Charl Schwartzel pips Darren Clarke to win Nanshan China Masters
Last Updated: 13/10/13 4:29pm
Darren Clarke: Late bogey at 17 left him one behind Schwartzel
Darren Clarke was denied his first victory since the 2011 Open Championship as Charl Schwartzel snatched the Nanshan China Masters title.
The South African mastered tricky conditions on the final day over the Montgomerie Course to close with a four-under 68 and pip Clarke and defending champion Liang Wen-chong by a single shot.
Clarke held the lead for much of the round after Liang, who shared the overnight lead with the Ulsterman, bogeyed the fourth and five holes before Clarke birdied the sixth to get to nine under.
But 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel applied the pressure on the final pair when he birdied 12, 15 and 16 and parred in to set the clubhouse target at eight under.
Clarke missed a three-foot putt for par at 13 before getting the shot back at the 15th, but another bogey at the penultimate hole proved costly as he was unable to birdie the last to force a play-off.
Schwartzel said: "I've played a lot of golf tournaments and done a lot of travelling in the past few months and it felt like I've been playing really good golf with no results, so it's nice to have something finally go your way."
Clarke admitted his putting had let him down throughout the final round, although he was generous in his praise for Schwartzel.
"It couldn't have got any worse," Clarke said. "I'm obviously disappointed with the day, it was another one of those days on the greens again where I couldn't buy a putt from anywhere.
"Still, that's golf and they've got a very good winner here, a fantastic winner, and that's the way it is. It's like that sometimes, unfortunately."
Liang picked up two birdies on the back nine to salvage a 72 and earn a share of second place with Clarke, while Indonesian Rory Hie and South Korean Sung-youl Kwon finished a further two strokes adrift.