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Clarke’s birdie blitz helps him to top the leaderboard

16 July 2011 09:27 BST

Darren Clarke

Spectators looking to watch some exciting golf over the weekend might want to seek out the games involving Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Charl Schwartzel and George Coetzee.

Clarke (5-5), Bjorn (7-3), Schwartzel (5-5) and Coetze (4-6) are the birdie kings so far this week having hit ten of them over the first two rounds.

It would normally be fair to assume that the leaders fired the most birdies but that is not always the case as the official statistics for the first two rounds illustrate. Lucas Glover goes into the penultimate round tied for the lead with Clarke but to date the former US Open champion has claimed just seven (5-2) which is one less that Stewart Cink (4-4) who is 32nd on the leaderboard and Mark Wilson (4-4) who is 45th. Sweden’s Alex Noren carded seven birdies over the first two days but still conspired to miss the cut.

It is always said you drive for show and putt for dough and that it confirmed by a look at the figures. Denmark’s Thorbjorn Oleson was the longest driver (he averaged 336.8 yards) over the first two rounds but he finished outside the top-100 after the second round and has departed for home.

It might well be significant that four out of six of the biggest hitters over the first two days missed the cut (Olesen, JB Holmes, Robert Garrigus and Noren) leaving Gary Woodland (334.5 yards) and Dustin Johnson (330.5 yards) to impress us with their power hitting.

It could be argues the stats tell us nothing (Lee Westwood led the Greens in Regulation category on 81% but has gone home) but the cynics might like to know that both Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez are fourth in the Putts category (with an average of 27 per round). However even here there is an anomaly — Glover who is tied for the lead is way down in 71st place with an average of 30.00 putts a round over the two days.

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