Ben Clarke bagged an albatross on a dreaded par five on his way to finishing an impressive fifth out of 230 players at the Footgolf World Cup in Argentina last weekend.
The big Watford fan rose from tied 13th after day one, to eighth after day two before finishing six shots behind winner Christian Otero at the Par 72, 18-hole course, 60kms from Buenos Aires.
“Fifth is an amazing achievement considering the the amount of quality was on display from the each countries,” said Clarke who turns 25 next week and manages the Footgolf course in Garston. “As always, I’ll look back at the missed opportunities to post a better score but in the Argentinian summer temperature it was always going to be hard to deliver a perfect round with fatigue.”
Clarke, who is the No 2 ranked player in Europe after winning a hat-trick of European Tour season victories, showed his class and the tips he has picked up from playing rounds with Fernando Forestieri, Hector Bellerin and Adlene Guedioura at his home course with arguably the shot of the five-day tournament featuring players from 26 different nationalities.
“The dreaded par 5 11th was the hole that caused many people problems,” said Clarke who attended the Watford Centre of Excellence until the age of 19. “On day two I managed to albatross it.”
Clarke took a more unconventional route on the 13th, as demonstrated in this video.
— UK FootGolf (@UKFootgolf) January 13, 2016
“I thought I performed well, it was a tough course to get on a birdie run so always hard to gain momentum,” he said. “It was a course to minimise errors, be happy with par but take a birdie when available, as soon as you start chasing birdies the course would always come out on top.”
The 16-man UK team were disappointed to be knocked out at the semi-final stage, particularly as they entered the event as one of the favourites after winning seven of the 14 European Tour events this season and winning the continental team title with one event to spare.
“We qualified up to the quarters to play Italy where we then progressed into the semis to play hosts Argentina,” said Clarke. “Despite only needing to tie a hole to win, the Argentinians put together a late surge and managed to beat us by one point to go into the team final.”
USA won the team title.