Clarke bidding for his dream double

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Open champion Darren Clarke says that winning this week’s Irish Open would make a dream come true.

Open champion Darren Clarke says that winning this week’s Irish Open would make a dream come true.

The Irishman returns to tournament golf for the first time since winning the Open at Sandwich two weeks ago and has told the media it would be a “heck of an achiecement” if he could add the Irish Open to his Open triumph.

The victory ended a 20-year wait for a major success and the 41-year-old Ulsterman admits he’s been trying to win the Irish Open for even longer.

Clarke, who will tee off with a stellar field at Killarney on Thursday, said: “I’ve been close a number of times and never quite got the job done, a bit like the Open you could say.

“But it would be a heck of an achievement, a dream come true, to have the Open and the Irish Open trophies on display back home.

“It has already been an amazing month for me and to do the double would be unbelievable,” added Clarke, who first played in the Irish Open in 1990.

Clarke will be joined in the field by fellow Northern Ireland major winners Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the 2010 and 2011 US Open winners.

Also ensuring a massive home support will be the presence of three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

The prospect of all four being on the course at the same time prompted Clarke to say: “The scenes could be like nothing we have seen before.”

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